The cereals represent vegetable matrices that, by their structire and composition, favors, in under favorable environmental conditions, formation of secondary metabolites, mycotoxins, generated by fungi that develop on this substrates. Mycotoxins can develop on cereals during cultivation, transport, storage or processing, transferring to the final product. The toxicity of this natural compounds is high, and the food risk determined by ingesting the products contaminated with mycotoxins is superior by comparison to the risk generated by consuming food additives or pesticides.
Considering the natural spread of this toxic compunds, their incidence in vegetable products is high, estimating that 25-60% of the cereals quantity obtained globally is contaminated with mycotoxins, produced especially by fungi from the species Aspergillus, Fusarium, Penicillium. The economic consequences of mycotoxins contamination and regarding food safety are serious. The crops with high quantity of mycotoxins are destroyed or used as feed in the derived food products like milk, meat and eggs.
Through the mycotoxins with toxicity and high incidence in cereals, the most frequent in the crops from our country developed following the favorable environmental conditions are aflatoxine, ochratoxine A, deoxinivalenol, zealalenone and fumosins. The causes and factors that compete to develop the fungi and mycotoxins are referred to the genetic ability of the fungi to produce mycotoxins, the nature of the substrate, the humidity of environment, substrate and temperature.
In view of the high toxicity of these compounds and the risk of contamination with mycotoxins, especially in the context of practicing organic agriculture where applying sintetic fungicide is forbidden, informing agricultural producers and the processers of the food industry regarding the posibilities of reducing the contamination has a high interest.
In this regard, in order to support the agricultural producers and the processors of the grain processing industry, the European Community by the ERASMUS + 2014-2020 Project, Key Action 2: Projects of Strategical Partnerships, contract no. 2017-1-RO01-KA202-037215, is financing actions for dissemination an popularization of the causes of the cereals contamination, and also elaborating measures for reducing the negative impact of this toxic compounds.
The project with the title: Strategies for predicting, prevention and reducing the effect of fungal contamination on the quality, cereals production and food safety – SAFETYCER ia coordinated by The Romanian Employer’s League in the Industry for Milling, Bakery and fluor products (ROMPAN) an is conducted in partnership with the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary medicine of Banat „King Mihai I of Romania” from Timisoara (USAMVBT), University of Novi Sad (Serbia), University of Osijek (Croatia) and University of bari (Italy).
The project is financing the organisation of some theoretical informing courses regarding the causes that favor developing the fungi and elaborating the mycotoxins in cereals and derived products, of prevention measures and decontamination that can be undertaken in the field and in the cereals storages, but also practical applications, in the field and in storages with the purpose to reduce the contamination.
In the west part of the country, where cultivating and processing the cereals has a special interest, the agronomic specialists, biologists and food technologists, professors of USAMVBT, through the courses organised in the project, will ensure the scientifical support and the technical solutions necessary in in combating fungal contamination and mycotoxin of cereals and derived products.
The strategies for reducing the fungal contamination is reffered to preventive measures, appliable in the field and cereals storages before producing the contamination and decontamination methods used in the purpose of reducing the micotoxigenic content in cereals and derived products.
The project will highlight the benefits of preventive methods applicable in the field, before harvesting or storage, post-harvest.
The measures appliable in the field in order to reduce the mycotoxins contamination of cereals reffer to: preventing the attack of insects, rotation of crops and waste management, optimal irrigation of cereals, cultivating species resistant to fungal attack, respecting the agro-technical measures.
In storages it is necessary to apply good practice measures to control the main factors that contribute to the development of fungi and the development of mycotoxins, namely: temperature, humidity and the storage time.
For this purpose it is necessary to respect the optimum humidity conditions for cereals of maximum 14%, assuring ventilation in storages, removal of fractions altered or attacked by insects, assuring some conditions for controlled atmosphere in the case of storage of cereals in storage for a longer time, by reducing the oxygen content and increasing the intake of carbon dioxide in the storage spaces.
Last but not least, the physical methods of removing altered fractions, milling, separation of branching coatings, thermal treatments or chemical methods of decontamination using acids or bases, oxidizing or reducing agents are effective solutions in reducing the micotoxin content of cereals and derived products.
The project’s website is: