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Common Questions & Misconceptions about Mold.  ANSWERED

 How many mycotoxins have been discovered?
Currently there are more than 400 different mycotoxins documented with new ones still being identified. However, the most important ones from the point of view of animal and human health and productivity are deoxynivalenol, T-2 toxin, zearalenone, aflatoxin B1, ochratoxin A and fumonisins.

 When does a mold produce or put off/out a mycotoxin?
Worldwide 30 to 40% of all existing fungi might be able to form mycotoxins under appropriate conditions either on the growing field plant ("field or plant pathogenic fungi") or later during storage ("storage or saprophytic fungi"). Subsequently these undesired compounds might occur in food and feed, thus endanger human or animal health and cause severe economic losses. Mould growth and toxin production are generally influenced by a variety of plant and environmental factors, including substrate characteristics (e.g. composition, pH, water activity, oxygen content), possible competitive actions (e.g. associated growth of other fungi or microbes) and climatic conditions (e.g. temperature, atmospheric humidity). In warm (tropical and subtropical) regions for instance aflatoxins are of major concern, while fusariotoxins, such as zearalenone or trichothecenes, mainly occur in more moderate regions. However, storage fungi including Aspergillus and Penicillium sp., may grow and produce mycotoxins even when moisture content ranges from 14 to 18% and at temperatures that vary from 10 to 50C. Moreover, stress factors such as drought, poor fertilization, high crop densities, weed competition, insect or mechanical damage can weaken the plant's natural defense and thus promote colonization by mycotoxin-producing fungi as well as toxin-formation.

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