Novel oxidative in vitro metabolites of the mycotoxins alternariol and alternariol methyl ether

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Mar;51(3):307-16. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200600237.


The Alternaria toxins alternariol (AOH; 3,7,9-trihydroxy-1-methyl-6H-benzo[c]chromen-6-one) and alternariol methyl ether (AME, 3,7-dihydroxy-9-methoxy-1-methyl-6H-benzo[c]chromen-6-one) are common contaminants of food and feed, but their oxidative metabolism in mammals is as yet unknown. We have therefore incubated AME and AOH with microsomes from rat, human, and porcine liver and analyzed the microsomal metabolites with HPLC and GC-MS/MS. Seven oxidative metabolites of AME and five of AOH were detected. Their chemical structures were derived from their mass spectra using deuterated trimethylsilyl (TMS) derivatives, and from the information obtained from enzymatic methylation. Several of the metabolites were identified by comparison with synthetic reference compounds. AME as well as AOH were monohydroxylated at each of the four possible aromatic carbon atoms and also at the methyl group. In addition, AME was demethylated to AOH and dihydroxylated to a small extent. As the four metabolites arising through aromatic hydroxylation of AME and AOH are either catechols or hydroquinones, the oxidative metabolism of these mycotoxins may be of toxicological significance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Food Contamination
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Hydroxylation
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lactones / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Microsomes, Liver / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Swine


  • Lactones
  • alternariol
  • alternariol monomethyl ether