The influence of mycotoxins exposure on human and animal health
Mycotoxins are the secondary fungal metabolites, which cause toxic effects on human and animal organisms. They are frequent food contaminants. The most common route of exposure to mycotoxins is ingestion, but it may also involve dermal, respiratory and parenteral routes. These metabolites are produced by various fungal and mould strains like Aspergillus spp., Penicillium spp. and Fusarium spp. The most prominent mycotoxins are aflatoxins, trichothecenes, zearalenone, ochratoxins, fumonisins, patulin, citrinin, alternariol and its monomethyl ether, gliotoxin and beauvericin. There are several diseases, which are mycotoxin-related. Mycotoxins cause acute and chronic intoxications (mycotoxicoses), allergies and tumours. They may demonstrate genotoxic, mutagenic, cytotoxic, teratogenic and carcinogenic properties. Some of them cause strong estrogenic effects and infertility. The others are immunosuppressive, nephrotoxic and hepatotoxic. Taking into account wide range of mycotoxins toxic effects on living organisms, it is established that these compounds are the one of main factors influencing human and animal health.