Contamination of wheat grain with microscopic fungi and their metabolites in Poland in 2006–2009

Department of Chemistry, Poznan University of Life Sciences, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med 2014;21(3):504–509
Microscopic fungi are microorganisms commonly found in cereal products. Pathogens of cereals colonising kernels are responsible, among other things, for deterioration of the technological value of grain. However, the greatest threat is posed by mycotoxins produced by toxin-forming strains of these microorganisms. The aim of the present study was to determine the level of contamination with microscopic fungi and mycotoxins from the group of trichothecenes in wheat grain from Poland in a 4-year cycle. In the period 2006–2009, studies were conducted on the content of fungal metabolites (ergosterol [ERG] and type A and B trichothecenes) and the content of microscopic fungi expressed in colony-forming units (CFU) in wheat grain. A total of 129 grain samples were examined. Analysed wheat samples had similar contents of both the investigated fungal metabolites and levels of microscopic fungi. Contents of microscopic fungi were low. Concentration of ERG, on average, was 2.64 mg/kg, while in colony forming units this value ranged from 10[sup]1 [/sup] CFU/g to over 10[sup]3[/sup] CFU/g. The total concentration of type A and B trichothecenes was also low and within the 4 years of the investigation did not exceed 0.062 mg/kg. Concentration of DON did not exceed 1,250 µg/kg, established as safe in grain for human consumption, in any of the tested samples. For the results collected in the years 2006–2009 and presented in this paper, correlations were calculated between the amount of mycoflora and analysed metabolites in 3 possible combinations: 0.7096 for ERG/total toxin concentration, 0.6086 for ERG/log CFU/g, and 0.4016 for the concentration of total toxins/log CFU/g. Highly significant correlations between the content of trichothecenes and the concentration of ERG indicate that the level of this metabolite is closely related to the content of mycotoxins in grain.