Fumonisins B1 and B2 in Black Tea and Medicinal Plants

J Food Prot. 2001 Aug;64(8):1268-70. doi: 10.4315/0362-028x-64.8.1268.


Fumonisins are mycotoxins produced by Fusarium moniliforme that are prevalent in cereals and other agricultural products. These mycotoxins have been pointed to as a natural cause of equine leukoencephalomalacia, porcine pulmonary edema, and human esophageal cancer. A total of 87 samples, 18 black tea samples and 69 samples of four different medicinal plants (chamomile, leaves of the orange tree, leaves and flowers of the linden tree, and corn silk), for infusions preparations were acquired from supermarkets in Lisbon, Portugal. The samples were analyzed for the incidence and levels of fumonisin B1 (FB1) and fumonisin B2 (FB2) by high-performance liquid chromatography. The detection limit was 20 microg/kg for both FB1 and FB2. FB1 was detected in 55 (65.5%) of the 87 samples. The highest number of positive samples was found in black tea (88.8%). with levels ranging from 80 to 280 microg/kg. Relative to the medicinal plants, the leaves of the orange tree had higher concentrations of FB1 (range, 350 to 700 microg/kg) followed by leaves and flowers of the linden tree (range, 20 to 200 microg/kg). The samples of corn silk and chamomile had less contamination of FB1, with concentrations ranging from 50 to 150 microg/kg and 20 to 70 microg/kg, respectively. None of the samples tested had contamination of FB2. This is the first report of the natural occurrence of fumonisins in black tea and medicinal plants in Portugal. We reinforce the necessity to implement risk management measures for safety control of this kind of product.

MeSH terms

  • Carboxylic Acids / analysis
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Fumonisins*
  • Fusarium / metabolism
  • Mycotoxins / analysis*
  • Plants, Medicinal / microbiology*
  • Portugal
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tea / microbiology*


  • Carboxylic Acids
  • Fumonisins
  • Mycotoxins
  • Tea
  • fumonisin B2
  • fumonisin B1