Periodic Reporting for period 3 - MyToolBox (Safe Food and Feed through an Integrated ToolBox for Mycotoxin Management)
Reporting period: 2019-03-01 to 2020-02-29
Catering to silo managers’ needs, sensors were developed to predict potential fungal growth – and thus mycotoxin contamination – in wheat and maize stored in European silos. Their functionality and underlying algorithms were tested and improved in pilot-scale silos at BARILLA. By including CO2 as an early-warning parameter, ZEN contamination in wheat and AFB1 contamination in maize could be forecasted 3-5 days earlier than using only temperature-sensitive sensors. These efforts were complemented by developing similar prediction models for peanuts stored in large scale silos in China.
Evaluating milling and baking techniques provided encouraging results for food producers and regulators: Different sorting, milling and micronization techniques were studied and combined to reduce DON contamination in the final product. The optimum balance of low DON at high fibre content was achieved by using medium-sized bran fraction combined with hammer milling and sieving sifter, resulting in a final product in which DON levels are well below the maximum limits and total dietary fibre is signifcantly higher than in standard wholewheat products. DON transformation during baking was assessed by using a C12/C13 labelling LC-HRMS metabolomics approach, pioneering a full mass balance of DON degradation during thermal processing : DON degraded by 6% in crackers, 5% in biscuits and 2% in bread, isoDON (1.3–3.9%) being the major degradation product. In vitro translation experiments indicate isoDON being less toxic than DON.
Within MyToolBox we also developed a novel sorting system for dried figs based on a combination of optical sorting technologies and algorithms. The prototype was demonstrated to end users in October 2019, and achieved an increased accuracy of up to 80 % under UV light.
Overall, the MyToolBox e-platform was launched officially on February 28, 2020: Besides including the real-time forecasting of mycotoxins in fields and silos, available information such as Good Agricultural Practices, sampling schemes, scenarios for cropping seasons, regulations, etc. were analysed, combined and transformed into easy-to-understand text to ensure that end-users all along the food and feed chain find suitable information – informed and tested particularly by focus-group meetings with potential end-users held in the Netherlands, UK, Serbia, Italy, Norway and China.
Another innovation lies in the MyToolBox silo monitoring system: Current practice in silo management is to measure temperature (T) and relative humidity (RH) (periodically or remotely). A sensor measuring CO2, T and RH simultaneously is highly novel and will provide silo managers with access to accurate information for making informed decisions immediately.
To increase fractions of reduced mycotoxin contamination at maximum fibre content during milling, the most efficient combination of milling techniques has been identified and tested. Besides a low DON content and a more than 30% higher fibre content, the selected fraction showed also lower content of commonly found pesticide residues and heavy metals, and increased levels of antioxidants. Efficient biofuel and protein rich DDGS (distillers dried grains with solubles) production can be an attractive safe use option for otherwise discarded contaminated cereal batches. Besides testing the efficacy in a lab-scale environment, the project achieved great insights into the use of recombinant enzymes in an industrial setting.
Unlike previous projects and standards, the MyToolBox project applied a fully integrated multi-actor approach with high end user involvement to tackle mycotoxins along the food and feed chain. The impacts of integrated mycotoxin management results in reduced losses along the food chain, particularly in high-risk years. By providing traceable information along the supply chain using mainstream ICT technology MyToolBox reached out to improve health, safety and wellbeing of consumers.
Moreover, MyToolBox tested the efficacy of feed additives under local conditions in China acc. to EC Regulation No 429/2008 - pioneering a common scientific (and ethical) base for future feeding trials to test detoxifiers developed in the EU and China.