Mycotoxins are contaminants produced by fungi that infest food crops and processed foods. Mycotoxins enter the food chain via infected crops that are either directly consumed by humans or indirectly ingested as a consequence of crops as an animal feed ingredient. These toxins have been linked to human oesophageal cancer, equine leukoencephalomalacia, and toxic feed syndrome in poultry, and pulmonary edema in pigs. In recent years, research on cumulative risks, exposure, and long-term effects has raised awareness for the control of such health risks. Due to the potential danger of such carcinogens to humans and livestock, strict regulatory controls determine the sale and use of mycotoxin-containing foods. Resulting, grain and other foodstuff buyers increasingly demand more rigorous and timely food safety testing. Failure to achieve a satisfactory performance may lead to unacceptable consignments being accepted or satisfactory batches being unnecessarily rejected. However, quantitative and rapid analysis of these toxins is difficult with analytical results prone to vary between laboratories, sometimes by orders of magnitude.
The MYCOSPEC project will develop an innovative tool based on infrared spectroscopic fingerprinting techniques for the rapid on-site diagnosis of fungal diseases at the surface of foods or in liquid foodstuffs such as e.g. homogenized foodstuff or beverages. The envisaged approach will enable the development of a compact yet highly sensitive tool, which will ensure that larger volumes of the cereals and foodstuffs can be probed, sensitively detected, and quantified. The high information content of infrared spectroscopic analysis combined with multivariate calibration and data classification will provide a novel approach for rapid, high-throughput monitoring of plant main components obtaining rapid information on crop quality and safety essential for screening systems in the food and feed sector.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeBSG-SME - Research for SMEs
SR5 3TX Sunderland