Food and Nutrition Department, National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge, Avenida Padre Cruz, 1649-016, Lisboa, Portugal; NOVA National School of Public Health, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Avenida Padre Cruz, 1600-560, Lisboa, Portugal; CESAM, Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies, University of Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193, Aveiro, Portugal; Public Health Research Centre, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Avenida Padre Cruz, 1600-560, Lisboa, Portugal. Electronic address: [Email]
Mycotoxins constitute a relevant group of food contaminants with several associated health outcomes such as estrogenic, immunotoxic, nephrotoxic and teratogenic effects. Although scarce data are available in Portugal, human biomonitoring studies have been globally developed to assess the exposure to mycotoxins at individual level. In order to overcome this lack of data, the present study concerned the analysis of mycotoxins in 24h urine and first-morning urine paired samples from 94 participants enrolled within the scope of the National Food, Nutrition, and Physical Activity Survey of the Portuguese General Population (2015-2016). Following a salt-assisted matrix extraction, urine samples were analysed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry for the simultaneous determination of 37 urinary mycotoxins' biomarkers and data obtained used to estimate the probable daily intake as well as the risk characterization applying the Hazard Quotient approach. Results revealed the exposure of Portuguese population to zearalenone, deoxynivalenol, ochratoxin A, alternariol, citrinin and fumonisin B1 through the quantification in 24h urine and first-morning urine paired samples. Risk characterization data revealed a potential concern to some reported mycotoxins since the reference intake values were exceeded by some of the considered participants. Alternariol was identified for the first time in urine samples from a European country; however, risk characterization was not performed due to lack of reference intake value. These results confirmed mycotoxins as part of the human exposome of the Portuguese population reinforcing the need for further studies regarding the determinants of exposure.