Petruta Galbenu, Lăcrămioara Damiescu, Alexandra Trif
Abstract: Zearalenone (ZEA, F-2 toxin) is a known non-steroidal estrogenic secondary metabolite, mainly produced by F. graminearum and F. culmorum, which are common soil fungi, in temperate and warm regions. ZEA and its metabolites are frequently detected in cereal crops worldwide such as maize, barley, oats, wheat, rice, sorghum and also in breakfast cereals, bread and milk, thus, contaminating both the food and feed chain. ZEA is a resorcylic acid lactone and is well-known by its estrogenic activity in farm animals (pigs, cattle, sheep etc.) and occasionally is implicated in hiperestrogenic syndromes in humans. The present study aimed to screen for ZEA contamination different cereal and cereal-based foodstuffs purchased from local producers and supermarkets in Timiș County, an area of western Romania. Hence, during a period of three years (2008-2010), a total of 125 commercially available foodstuffs, including small cereal grains (wheat, barley, maize), bread and related products (bakery, pastry), maize oil, breakfast cereals and other foods (biscuits, snacks), were investigated for ZEA presence and contamination levels using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) commercially available kits. Although, the occurrence of ZEA varied during the three years of study from 6.25% in 2008 and 38.30% in 2009, to 53.33% in 2010, overall ZEA was detected in 37 samples, representing 29.6%, occurrence which was similar to other surveys. The values obtained ranged between 0.4 µg/kg found in barley, and 41.81 µg/kg found in wheat flour, and an overall mean and median value of 3.26 µg/kg and 1.82 µg/kg, respectively. However, none of the values exceeded the maximum allowed levels by the European Commission (EC) in the different commodities analyzed. Whereas most surveys focus on ZEA contamination of different crops (wheat, barley, maize etc.) this paper represents one of the first screenings on a variety of cereal and cereal-based foodstuffs marketed in an area of western Romania.
Zearalenone, occurrence, levels, foodstuffs, Timis County, Romania
Presentation: oral