Mycotoxin contamination in meat and meat products

03 Aug 2022

Mycotoxin contamination in meat and meat products

Mycotoxin contamination in meat, and meat derived products represents a significant threat to food security and is a pressing matter that requires solutions.

There are several microbial groups capable of developing in meat and meat products, due to their ubiquity and tolerance to various environmental conditions.

Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by molds that adversely affect the health of animals. They are a heterogeneous group, which translates into a great variability of toxic effects. Mycotoxins are produced by various species of molds, most of them being framed in the genera Aspergillus, Penicillium, Claviceps and Fusarium.

 

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Microbial growth factors in meat and meat products

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The factors that determine what type of microorganism proliferates in meat and meat products are determined by the physico-chemical characteristics of food, such as:

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Bacteria are predominant in foods with elevated aw (>0.90)

Molds and yeasts constitute the major population in foods with lower aw values. such as cured-matured meat derivatives.

Although mold development does not always imply mycotoxin production, as such conditions tend to be more demanding (Table 1).

Table 1: Conditions required for the genera Aspergillus, Fusarium and Penicillium for their growth and production of mycotoxins (Modified from Sweeney and Dobson, 1998).

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How can mycotoxins reach meat?

Mycotoxins can reach meat and its by-products in two ways:

 

 

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