Evaluación de la presencia de hongos micotoxigénicos del género Alternaria en alimentos animales y humanos producidos en la CAPV.

Alternaria is a very common fungal genus, including numerous saprophytic, endophytic, and pathogenic species widely distributed in soil and decaying organic matter. It includes pathogenic species that can invade vegetable crops before and after harvesting and is responsible for considerable economic losses, due to the fact that it reduces the yield of the crops and produces alterations in the vegetables during their storage. Species of the genus Alternaria synthesize more than 70 secondary metabolites toxic to plants (phytotoxins), some of which also affect people and animals, which is why they are considered mycotoxins. The main mycotoxins produced by the main toxigenic species of the genus Alternaria do not depend on the host species, and are altenuene(ALT), alternariol (AOH), alternariol monomethyl ether (AME), tenuazonic acid (TeA) and tentoxin (TEN). It is important to note that mycotoxin synthesis depends both on the presence of the producing Alternaria species and on environmental conditions. Exposure to the toxins of Alternaria spp. it has been linked to the occurrence of adverse health effects in humans and animals and, in many cases, has been shown to have genotoxic, mutagenic, carcinogenic and cytotoxic effects. The mycotoxins of Alternaria spp. have been isolated from fruits (apple, pear, melon, apricot, grapes, raisins, strawberry, olive, citrus and dried figs), vegetables (tomato, pepper and carrot) and tubers (potato), as well as from numerous processed foods with contaminated raw materials (juices, preserves, sauces, etc.). Therefore, the objective of this project is to evaluate the presence of mycotoxigenic fungi of the genus Alternaria and the production of their mycotoxins in foods of plant cultivated in the Basque Country. We will provide data to prepare a risk analysis of Alternaria mycotoxins in different foods consumed in the Basque Country.

We will define which foods for human consumption are those with the highest risk of containing Alternaria and its mycotoxins.

We will establish the environmental conditions (seasonal risk) where the appearance of Alternaria and its mycotoxins is minimum and maximum.

We will define the guidelines for storage and handling of food to reduce the presence of Alternaria and its mycotoxins