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Biomarker approaches for assessing the early life exposure to multiple mycotoxins in the diet

Abstract

Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by fungi that occur naturally in foodstuffs, which can cause a large variety of toxic effects on vertebrates, including humans. The fact that some mycotoxins are carcinogenic (e.g., aflatoxins) and could be detected in breast milk, food and feedstuffs constitutes a serious human and animal health threat, mainly to children and young animals due to their high physiological vulnerability. This Thematic Project is constituted by 8 work packages (WP), which have independent and complementary objectives for advance in the knowledge concerning the exposure assessment of children to dietary mycotoxins using biomarker approaches and multi-mycotoxin analysis in food, as well as the in vitro determination of mycotoxin bioavailability, and the development of a functional dairy product containing lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and yeast biomass to reduce the dietary exposure to aflatoxins. The specific objectives of WPs are: WP-1: To assess de pre-natal exposure of pregnant women to dietary mycotoxins in Ribeirão Preto/SP, using mycotoxin biomarkers in fetus' tissues. WP-2: To assess the exposure of lactating mothers and infant babies to mycotoxins during lactation in Pirassununga/SP (currently ongoing - PhD scholarship FAPESP, Grant 2017/12956-2), and characterize the associated risk. WP-3: To assess the exposure of infants (e 1 year and < 2 years old), preschoolers (e2 and < 6 years old), schoolchildren (e 6 years and < 10 years old) and adolescents (e 10 years and < 19 years old) from Ribeirão Preto/SP to multiple mycotoxins in the diet using food data and biomarkers in urine, and characterize the associated risk. WP-4: To determine the co-occurrence of mycotoxins in infant formula, fruit- and cereal-based foods traded in Pirassununga and Ribeirão Preto/SP. WP-5: To determine the in vitro bioavailability of regulated mycotoxins in Brazil, and adjust the exposure assessment of children to mycotoxins obtained in WP-3 through food data and biomarkers present in the urine. WP-6: To develop innovative functional yoghurt containing yeast and LAB biomass to reduce the bioavailability of aflatoxins. WP-7: To assess efficacy of the functional yoghurt developed in WP-6 to decrease the teratogenic effects of aflatoxins on Wistar rats during pregnancy. WP-8: To assess the efficacy of the functional yoghurt developed in WP-6 to decrease the toxic effects of aflatoxins in feed, alone or in combination with fumonisins, on piglets. (AU)