Alternariol (AOH) and Alternariol monomethyl ether (AME) mycotoxins are found to be present naturally in various food commodities, such as barley, oats, pepper, rye, sorghum, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, and wheat. A few epidemiological studies have correlated the consumption of Alternaria-contaminated cereal grains with higher occurrence of esophageal cancer in Chinese populations. In addition, several studies have reported the toxicological properties of Alternaria mycotoxins. However, surveillance data on AOH and AME occurrence are still limited. Therefore, the goal of this study was to determine the presence of AOH and AME in various commonly consumed, edible oils using HPLC-FLD method. Thirty four percent of samples were found positive for AOH and 35% for AME. Moreover, AOH retained 80% stability, while AME retained 84% stability, after deep frying for 25 min, which is an important factor with respect to Indian cooking style. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the presence of Alternaria mycotoxins in edible oils and their probable dietary intake in Indian population. This surveillance study may help in formulating guidelines for Alternaria mycotoxin levels in India, which are not yet implemented by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: At present, no safety guidelines exist for Alternaria mycotoxins in any part of the world. This study will help the regulatory bodies to set permissible levels of Alternaria mycotoxins to safeguard the health of consumers. This study shows that Alternaria mycotoxins are heat stable even after deep frying for 25 min. The data will also help to issue guidelines against exposure of these mycotoxins, keeping in the mind the heat stability factor.
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