Mycotoxins, metabolites produced by specific fungi, are introduced into the food chain by pre-harvest and post-harvest contamination of foods and livestock feed. Infestation of crops and food by mycotoxin producing fungi causes serious immunosuppressive, carcinogenic, cytotoxic, and teratogenic effects in humans and animals. The Aspergillus mycotoxin, aflatoxin, is the most potent naturally occurring carcinogen and one of the most economically important mycotoxins worldwide. Fusarium mycotoxins infect the grain of developing wheat and maize and include deoxynivalenol and zearalenone, which are acutely toxic to humans, causing sickness and potentially death.
Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration limits the allowable amount of mycotoxins in animal feed and food for human consumption, but the effect of chronic exposure to low levels of mycotoxins on human health is unknown. In areas of the world where regulations do not exist, mycotoxins cause serious health problems.
Description of Technology
A naturally occurring compound comprised of C18 alkenylene piperidine amide that inhibits mycotoxin production, specifically aflatoxin and deoxynivalenol (DON), but does not inhibit fungal growth; for use as a post-harvest treatment for seeds, nuts and grains.
A screening test for compounds that inhibit the production of mycotoxin, through interactions with mycotoxin biosynthesis genes, for the identification and development of new anti-mycotoxin compounds.
- Anti-mycotoxin compound and screening test:
- Specific action: Compound specifically targets fungal biosynthesis of mycotoxin, not fungal growth.
- Provides broad spectrum activity: Compound demonstrates activity against aflatoxin and deoxynivalenol (DON).
- Post-harvest application: Compound can be applied to crops and nuts, during storage and transportation.
- Easy to run and evaluate results: Screening test uses standard TLC system.
- Inexpensive: Screening test doesn't require additional expensive reagents or technology.
- Identifies active compound: Screening test can be used in purification schemes to isolate the active compound from the material.
- Specific: Screening test targets the biosynthesis of mycotoxin, not fungal growth.
The anti-mycotoxin compound has applications in the chemical, agricultural, food science and nutrition, and energy (ethanol production) sectors to inhibit post-harvest fungal mycotoxin production on crops, nuts, and seeds (for human and animal consumption). It would be applied by growers, storage facility personnel and shippers. The screening test has applications in the chemical, pharmaceutical, veterinary and agricultural sectors for use in the identification and development of new anti-mycotoxin compounds.
The compound composition is patented but research continues on formula optimization. A functional prototype of the screening test is developed.
US patent 6,825,216 (issued Nov. 30, 2004)
US patent 7,041,678 (issued May 9, 2006)
A divisional patent is pending.
Frances Trail, Raymond Hammerschmidt, John Linz, Haixin Xu, Luis Velasquez, Seanna Annis