Collective term for a group of highly toxic metabolic products produced by various moulds, including Aspergilli and Fusaria
Fusaria cause disease in many crops. Not only do they lead to losses of yield, they can also pollute food and feed by producing mycotoxins. In acute cases, Fusarium toxins lead to vomiting and infertility.
Fusarium infection often occurs after plants are attacked by insects (secondary infection). This because the fungus can gain access to the plant via insect damage. Therefore, insect infestation can lead to harvests with a higher load of mycotoxins..
There is evidence that successfully managing the corn borer results in lower mycotoxin content in maize products. Genetically modified Bt crops have led to a significant decrease in corn borer damage.
Other fungal toxins, such as aflatoxins or ochratoxin, are far more toxic than those of Fusaria. Aflatoxin B1 is the strongest known carcinogen. Most mycotoxins, especially carcinogenic aflatoxins, can withstand the high temperatures of baking and processing.
There are legal limits for aflatoxin content in food. Limits for milk are particularly low.