Strategies to prevent mycotoxin contamination of food and animal feed: a review

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2006;46(8):593-619. doi: 10.1080/10408390500436185.


Mycotoxins are fungal secondary metabolites that have been associated with severe toxic effects to vertebrates produced by many important phytopathogenic and food spoilage fungi including Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium, and Alternaria species. The contamination of foods and animal feeds with mycotoxins is a worldwide problem. We reviewed various control strategies to prevent the growth of mycotoxigenic fungi as well as to inhibit mycotoxin biosynthesis including pre-harvest (resistance varieties, field management and the use of biological and chemical agents), harvest management, and post-harvest (improving of drying and storage conditions, the use of natural and chemical agents, and irradiation) applications. While much work in this area has been performed on the most economically important mycotoxins, aflatoxin B(1) and ochratoxin A much less information is available on other mycotoxins such as trichothecenes, fumonisin B(1), zearalenone, citrinin, and patulin. In addition, physical, chemical, and biological detoxification methods used to prevent exposure to the toxic and carcinogenic effect of mycotoxins are discussed. Finally, dietary strategies, which are one of the most recent approaches to counteract the mycotoxin problem with special emphasis on in vivo and in vitro efficacy of several of binding agents (activated carbons, hydrated sodium calcium aluminosilicate, bentonite, zeolites, and lactic acid bacteria) have also been reviewed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / microbiology*
  • Animals
  • Edible Grain / microbiology
  • Food
  • Food Contamination / prevention & control*
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Malus / microbiology
  • Mycotoxins*
  • Nuts / microbiology


  • Mycotoxins