Fumonisin mycotoxins in human hair

Biomarkers. Mar-Apr 2003;8(2):110-8. doi: 10.1080/1354750031000081002.


This study shows for the first time the accumulation of fumonisin mycotoxins in human hair of population clusters exposed to contaminated maize, and thus the feasibility of human hair analysis for the assessment of past fumonisin exposure. Composite hair samples were obtained from the Bizana, Butterworth and Centane districts within the Transkei region of the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Following methanol extraction and strong anion exchange clean up, the fumonisins FB(1), FB(2) and FB(3) were detected using high performance liquid chromatography coupled to electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-MS). Hair from Centane and Butterworth showed mean levels of FB(1) of 26.7 and 23.5 microg kg(-1) hair, respectively. FB(2) was only detected in hair from Centane and in one sampling point in Butterworth, with mean levels of 6.5 and 5.7 microg kg(-1) hair, respectively. Hair samples from Bizana, on the other hand, were found to contain higher levels of FB(1) (mean 33.0 microg kg(-1) hair) and FB(2) (mean 11.1 microg kg(-1) hair). No samples contained more than trace levels of FB(3). Recoveries from spiked hair samples using this method ranged from 81% to 101%, demonstrating the applicability of hair analysis in assessing human exposure to fumonisin mycotoxins.

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Fumonisins / analysis*
  • Hair / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Mycotoxins / analysis*
  • Solvents
  • South Africa


  • Fumonisins
  • Mycotoxins
  • Solvents