ISM & Mycored

MycoRed Project

MYCORED aimed at developing strategic solutions to reduce contamination by mycotoxins of major concern in economically important food and feed chains, through Mycotoxins research joint actions.

The project was significantly build on the outcome of several European projects (through most coordinators/partners of FP5 and FP6) on mycotoxins by supporting, stimulating and facilitating education and cooperation with countries having major mycotoxin concerns related to international trade and human health. The direct involvement of ICPC countries (Argentina, Egypt, Russia, South Africa) and international organizations (CIMMYT, IITA) together with strong scientific alliances with International Experts strengthen the project through sharing experiences and resources from several past/ongoing mycotoxin projects in a global context.

MycoRed developed novel solution driven methodologies, handling procedures and practically useful tools to reduce significantly both pre- and post-harvest toxin contamination of selected and economically important commodities in food and feed chains.

MycoRed applied integration of specific technologies to a set of food/feed chain targets with respect to wheat, maize, grape, nuts and dried fruits, by new advanced integrated approach based on multidisciplinar know-how and technology.

A significant reduction of mycotoxins in pre-harvest was obtained by optimization of plant resistance, fungicide use, biocontrol, modelling and developing a decisional support system (DSS). Wheat genotypes and maize hybrids were identified to be resistant to Fusarium Head Blight and Fusarium Ear Roat respectively.

A significant reduction in DON contamination (80-90%) was reached by using fungicide optimization technology and additional 50% reduction compared to the best technology found was reached by developing a better nozzle composition.

Field trials also on large scale in Nigeria, Argentina, The Netherlands and Italy, were done with selected biological control agents in maize, peanuts and wheat; so far up to 80% aflatoxin control reduction in maize and in peanuts was achieved with non-toxigenic strains while F. graminearum inoculum was decreased about 70% in wheat stubble by using antagonists.

Predictive models for DON/ZEA contamination in wheat, , FUM and AFLA in maize, OTA in grapes, were developed and validated supporting DSS.

In post-harvest and processing, relationships between environmental factors and dry matter loss relevant to EU legislative limits (DON, FUM and AFLA) were identified in wheat, maize and hazelnuts.
Novel solution driven methodologies and handling procedures based on gases O3 in wheat and maize, reduced the fungal growth and FUM production (100%) in maize.
In addition, novel anti-fungal natural compounds were identified and economically evaluated to be potentially used for post-harvest control of DON, FUM and AFLA.

An intelligent system based on wireless sensor network devices was developed to monitoring temperature, humidity and CO2 into grain silos. Some agricultural by-products can find technological applications as low cost feed/food additives for mycotoxin reduction mycotoxins (up to 95% AFB1, 83% ZEA, 83% OTA and 47% FB1), and represent a potentially valuable source of phenolic antioxidants and undegradable fibre, which could promote health also through their ability to “trap” in the digestive tract. . Dried fruits processing by sulphuration, dehulling/peeling, sorting and roasting reduced AFLA B1 in apricot seeds (up to 99.5%), in pistachio (83%), and almonds (50%).

Advanced molecular technologies were developed for identification of toxigenic fungi from several host plants, and novel approaches to control mycotoxigenic fungi by application of light at different wave length, permitting a better control of fungal growth and toxin production/reduction.
Advanced analytical methods were developed and validated for multi-mycotoxin analysis in a range of food matrices from the chosen food chains and for simultaneous determination of multi-biomarkers for main mycotoxins in human and animal urine. Rapid test kits (strip tests) for the detection of DON, AFLAs and FUMs were throughly validated and checked for cross-reactivity against conjugated and other altered forms of mycotoxins.

The project had a significant impact in the scientific international community as well as in the stakeholders, policy makers and industry. In addition the project improved awareness and advanced knowledge on mycotoxins concerns in the world, by dissemination and training with unexpected interest expressed by different communities. International events, in cooperation with ISM and/or other organizations, were organized in the world (Austria 2009, Malaysia 2010, Africa 2011, Argentina 2011, Canada 2012, Italy 2013) with participation of about 2000 experts. Workshops on specific topics (Hungary, 2010, Turkey 2010, Russia 2011, Egypt 2011, The Netherlands 2012); 4 training courses on Detection techniques, on line too (Italy, Malaysia, Indonesia). More than 150 Young researchers/students were involved in this learning process, participating at Short Term Visits mostly from ICPC countries (24) in EU/Africa labs and Home Education sessions in China/Argentina/Indonesia/USA. Twinnings (EU-Canada; EU-Argentina) and scientific networks were activated by signing 20 alliances/agreements worldwide.

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