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Joint study of Fusarium and related mycotoxins in food: detection and control ‘FUSARIUM- FOOD SAFETY’

Onderzoeksproject BL/C/46 (Onderzoeksactie BL)


Contract BL/02/C46 :

Duur van het contract :

1/5/2008-31/1/2011

Partners :

  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) 
  • Université Catholique de Louvain 
  • Universiteit Gent 

Beschrijving :

Context and objectives

Many cereals, but also other agricultural crops are susceptible to fungal attack, either in the field or during storage. These fungi may produce as secondary metabolites a diverse group of chemical substances known as mycotoxins. In terms of exposure (humans and animals) and severity of chronic disease, mycotoxins appear at present to pose a higher risk than anthropogenic contaminants and pesticides. A number of mycotoxins have been found to be carcinogenic.
The project focuses on Fusarium species and related mycotoxins, as these seem to become one of the major issues in global mycotoxin research. In China, F. graminearum is the most dominant species, while in Belgium F. graminearum and F. culmorum are most frequently occurring. However, more than 20 common Fusarium species exist, capable of producing more than 100 toxic secondary metabolites.

At the current stage in mycotoxin research, an interdisciplinary approach seems to be the only promising way to find answers for this widespread mycotoxin problem. Therefore, the first and major objective of this proposal is to bring together experts from both China and Belgium on Fusarium and related toxins. The 4 different partners are complementary as they are focused on different aspects of this research topic. Multidisciplinarity and cross-border research are the key issues in this project.
More specifically research is done in both Chinese and Belgian research institutes on:
1. Development of rapid field detection techniques for mycotoxins (antibody-based rapid tests, molecularly imprinted polymers);
2. Survey of Fusarium toxins in vegetables and herbs, available on the Chinese market;
3. Study of the Fusarium spp. diversity on maize and banana in China and of the variations and distribution of the fumonisin biosynthesis gene cluster inside these Fusarium populations.


Methodology

The project is divided into five work packages:

Workpackage 1. Development of antibodies and antibody-based assays
- Monoclonal antibodies are being raised in mice according to the hybridoma technology. ELISA and rapid field tests, such as clean-up tandem based immunoassay and the flow-through assay will be developed for the simultaneous detection of several Fusarium toxins.

Workpackage 2. Development of molecularly imprinted polymers (MIP)
- Specific recognition sites are created in a polymeric matrix, mimicking the binding sites of antibodies. A MIP for the Fusarium toxin zearalenone is under development.

Workpackage 3. Survey of Fusarium toxins in plant-based food products, available on the Chinese market
- Chinese herbs were collected and analysed for mycotoxin contamination by a multi-mycotoxin LC-MS/MS method. Also, distribution and identification of Fusarium spp. is carried out using morphological and molecular tools. Further, tea and food supplement samples will be analysed.

Workpackage 4. Study of the Fusarium spp. diversity on maize and banana in China and of the variations and distribution of the fumonisin biosynthesis gene cluster inside these Fusarium populations
- Field trips are organised for the collection and isolation of Fusarium on banana and maize in Hainan and Henan provinces. The project will contribute to the study of the Fusarium spp. diversity in China, especially the Fusarium species potential producer of fumonisin. Fusarium samples will be identified morphologically and molecularly. Also the variations and the distribution of the fumonisin biosynthesis gene cluster inside these Fusarium populations will be studied.

Workpackage 5. Organisation of workshops on Fusarium and related mycotoxins in Belgium and China


Documentatie :

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