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Integrated and innovative key actions for mycotoxin management in the food and feed chain

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - MycoKey (Integrated and innovative key actions for mycotoxin management in the food and feed chain)

Reporting period: 2017-10-01 to 2019-03-31

The MycoKey project aims at mitigating mycotoxin contamination in food and feed chains, by improving competitiveness of the agrifood industry and sustainability of food production and processing, and supporting stakeholders in effective and sustainable mycotoxin management. The action target are Europe and China. MycoKey investigates maize, wheat and barley crops, their associated toxigenic fungi and related mycotoxins (aflatoxins, deoxynivalenol, zearalenone, ochratoxin A, fumonisins, T-2 and HT-2 toxins). The multiple foci are: i) innovating mycotoxin management by applying ICT, providing input for legislation, enhancing knowledge and networks; ii) selecting and improving a range of tools for toxigenic fungi and mycotoxin monitoring; iii) assessing the use of reliable cost-effective technical/management solution, sustainable compounds and green technologies in prevention, intervention and remediation in the field, during storage, processing and transportation in the major food and feed chains; iv) alternative and safe ways to use contaminated batches.
A main objective is to integrate key information and practical solutions into a smart ICT tool (MycoKey App), providing answers to stakeholders.
The multi-disciplinary consortium is composed of scientific, industrial and association partners (31), and includes 11 Chinese institutions.
GLOBAL MYCOTOXIN KNOWLEDGE: review of scientific updates, adapting existing knowledge for stakeholders. Short messages for farmers were delivered to be included in the App, and smart messages for end users. Papers were prepared and Mycotox charter website is running. Predictive models are running as useful tool to predict the level of mycotoxin contamination risk supporting stakeholders and policy makers. Round Tables and Working Groups guarantees a strong global multi-disciplinary scientific network.
TOXIGENIC FUNGI MONITORING: a predictive model for AFLA and FUM in maize has become available to the farmers. A model for DON and ZEA prediction in maize was launched, sequence data for public on-line Databases for fungal species identification. On site LAMP assay validated. Whole genome sequencing, information on new genotypes and distribution of mycotoxin gene clusters. Use of environmental on-site sensors.
MYCOTOXIN MONITORING: alternative practical method and device for grain dust sampling in maize developed; a multi-mycotoxin method for detection in dust (and correlation with their content in maize) applied to the analysis of maize, wheat,dust samples; Multi-mycotoxin test kits for on-site screening (including a prototype) validated. Modified mycotoxins and their in vivo toxicokinetics research is ongoing.
PREVENTION IN THE FIELD: biocontrol of Aspergillus flavus to prevent AFLA contamination in maize; selected intercropping systems reduced Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) disease; identification and formulation of biocontrol agents allowing reduction of FHB infected wheat spikelets and DON contamination, promising endophytes has been also selected; selection of less susceptible maize hybrids to Fusarium Ear Rot and wheat varieties to FHB.
INTERVENTION STRATEGIES are available to be applied after fungal infection of crops in the field, during storage or processing: C. rosea strains, added of an oil-based formulation to the spray suspension, to reduce Fusarium spp. inoculum in the field; novel fungicides compounds developed against Fusarium Head Blight (FHB); EOW treatment in grape field tests against A. carbonarius; non-thermal plasma system and UV-C treatment against fungal growth (A. flavus and P. verrucosum) on food commodities such as green coffee, walnut, maize, and peanuts.
REMEDIATION: proven efficacy study of industrial-scale cleaning equipment in reducing aflatoxin content in naturally contaminated maize. In vitro tests for binding simultaneously mycotoxins. Study of microbial proteases efficacy for OTA degradation in wine processing. Proven efficacy of industrial mushroom Pleurotus. eryngii in AFB1 degradation in vitro and cultivation substrate. Pleurotus laccase enzymes proven to be effective for in vitro degradation of AFB1, ZEA, AFM1.
ICT SOLUTIONS FOR CHAIN MANAGEMENT: the MycoKey app beta version is fully functional. It allows the comprehensive monitoring of DON in wheat and aflatoxin B1 and fumonisin in maize and it can count on global meteorological information. The mycotoxin models have been adapted to fit the app and they can run world-wide.
COMMUNICATION, DISSEMINATION, EXPLOITATION: The project dissemination has been strongly supported by 28 open access papers, poster and oral presentations in International and National Conferences. Short Term Mission have been assigned to international PhD students and young researchers. The successfully 2nd MycoKey International Conference has been held in China. Technological workshops in Helsinki, Finland and Bucarest, Romania, have been organized, and training courses in Italy.
MycoKey develops new approaches to mycotoxin management through integration of output arising from the global knowledge harmonization on key topics and development of research data. This integration feeds a new smart and user-friendly MycoKey app, a system representing a step forward for scientific practical advises to growers, stakeholders and researchers. The project contributes to strengthen skills of young researchers and awareness about mycotoxin risks on human and animal health. Moreover, MycoKey is enhancing the EU-China dialogue, by involving the Chinese Consortium in linked research activities. Alliances/scientific agreements with other EU funded projects are enhancing the international cooperation, specifically with the H2020 MyToolBox project. On-site applicable and ICT new integrated solutions were developed in the field of toxigenic fungi and mycotoxin monitoring along the chain. Integrated prediction models were developed for efficient crop management and stakeholders use. The approach is based on: a) combination of risk models and control systems on site; b) development of new (multi)-mycotoxin screening methods on-site for multi-mycotoxin in situ and on-line analyses; c) detection technologies for customized use in an open source environment. New validated detection methodologies and advances in knowledge on mycotoxins modified forms will be available for eventual new legislation. The project has enhanced the potential of biocontrol use against aflatoxin contamination in maize and peanuts, by applying it to emerging high risk areas in Europe (Italy, Serbia, Romania) and China. Sustainable control strategies, based on natural compounds and biological control agents, to be used against FHB, have been studied for market application. Less Fusarium susceptible wheat and maize genetic material has been selected. Less toxic and more effective new fungicides were tested. Novel post-harvest green solutions, sanitation techniques and cleaning equipment to reduce mycotoxins in food products are ready for industries. New feed additives are available, based on multi-mycotoxin detoxifying agents, and criteria and protocols validated and standardized, according with EU regulations and EFSA guidelines. The safe use options solutions will release effective biological methods for mycotoxin detoxification and cost effective production of biofuel from mycotoxin contaminated biomasses. Finally, 41 manuscripts were published in peer reviewed journals.
Mycokey ICT solutions
MycoKey key actions on food and feed chain
MycoKey International Consortium