In order to determine whether dried mushrooms are a foodstuff that may be less susceptible to infection by toxigenic molds and consequently to mycotoxin contamination, 34 dried market samples were analyzed. Fungal population was determined in the samples by conventional mycological techniques and molecular studies, while the spectrum of microbial metabolites including mycotoxins was analyzed by a liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometric method covering 320 metabolites. Molds such as Fusarium, Penicillium, Trichoderma and aflatoxigenic species of Aspergillus (Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parvisclerotigenus) were recovered from all samples at varying levels. None of the mycotoxins addressed by regulatory limits in the EU was positively identified in the samples. However, 26 other fungal metabolites occurred at sub- to medium μg/kg levels in the samples, including aflatoxin/sterigmatocystin bio-precursors, bis-anthraquinone derivatives from Talaromyces islandicus, emerging toxins (e.g. enniatins) and other Fusarium metabolites, and clavine alkaloids. Although little is known on the toxicology of these substances, the absence of aflatoxins and other primary mycotoxins suggests that dried mushrooms may represent a relatively safe type of food in view of mycotoxin contamination.
- Food safety