24-Mar-2009 - Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM)

Poisons under control

The difficult search for dangerous mycotoxins

Do you know how many moulds are in a slice of bread? And has it occured to you whether these moulds pose a danger? BAM's experts are carrying out research into this topic and have developed an analytical method to detect the toxic metabolic compounds of moulds.

Moulds, and more than 300 species of them exist, can be found everywhere in the world and they can infect all kinds of food. Some of them generate toxic metabolic compounds, the so-called mycotoxins, which, when consumed, may cause serious damage to our health. Mycotoxins are stable compounds and are not destroyed either by cooking or roasting or by the processes of the food processing industry. Even where no moulds can be recognized, they may be present with their toxins. Therefore it is of crucial importance to detect them and prevent contaminated food from getting into production and the trade.

In the European Union, 11 mycotoxins have been identified so far and limiting values established (COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 1881/2006 and 1126/2007). In co-operation with the Austrian Department for Agrobiotechnology IFA-Tulln, BAM has developed an analytical method which can quantitatively determine mycotoxins.

The analysis of the samples is carried out using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with mass spectrometry (MS). By means of HPLC a separation of individual mycotoxins is achieved followed by MS detection. The mycotoxin molecules are fragmented by a collision with nitrogen molecules. The fragments formed during this process are very specific to the respective mycotoxins and can therefore be used for identification and quantitative analysis.

Dr. Robert Köppen of the BAM Working Group "Analysis of Food and Commodities" will report on this analytic procedure in his oral presentation "Multi-component analysis for mycotoxins" at ANAKON 2009.

Facts, background information, dossiers
More about BAM
  • News

    A novel path for sustainable photon upconversion with non-precious metals

    Sustainable chemical applications need to be able to employ renewable energy sources, renewable raw materials, and earth-abundant elements. However, to date many techniques have only been possible with the use of expensive precious metals or rare earth metals, the extraction of which can ha ... more

    New insights into crystallisation processes

    The better the results of the crystallisation process of materials can be controlled and predicted, the greater the chances of producing crystals that have specific characteristics and allow material properties to be optimised. Scientists at the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüf ... more

    Glowing nanocrystals

    Tiny luminous particles are being used in more and more products today: from smartphones to OLED televisions to car headlights. Precise knowledge of the luminosity is crucial for industry. The Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) is developing reliable measurement meth ... more

More about Universität für Bodenkultur Wien
  • News

    Cattle stomachs help break down plastic

    New results from a group of researchers at the Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (acib) and BOKU Vienna show that bacteria from cow stomachs can be used to degrade polyesters, which are used to make textiles, packaging and compostable plastic bags, among other things. On the one h ... more

    Microbes in cow stomachs can break down plastic

    Plastic is notoriously hard to break down, but researchers in Austria have found that bacteria from a cow's rumen - one of the four compartments of its stomach - can digest certain types of the ubiquitous material, representing a sustainable way to reduce plastic litter. The scientists susp ... more

    Wine Fraud: Chemical Fingerprint Uncorks Juicy Facts

    Numerous components of 42 different wines have been analysed using state-of-the-art equipment for the first time. The data generated will provide an extremely accurate basis for definitively characterising different wine varieties, as well as an innovative approach for routine wine analysis ... more

  • White papers

    Production of protein-grafted cellulosic fibers by a simple two-step process

    The new method presented herein consists of two simple steps for chemically modifying the surface of cellulosic materials more