The presence of mycotoxins in cereal grain is a very important food safety issue with the occurrence of masked mycotoxins extensively investigated in recent years. This study investigated the variation of different Fusarium
metabolites (including the related regulated, masked, and emerging mycotoxin) in maize from various agriculture regions of South Africa. The relationship between the maize producing regions, the maize type, as well as the mycotoxins was established. A total of 123 maize samples was analyzed by a LC-MS/MS multi-mycotoxin method. The results revealed that all maize types exhibited a mixture of free, masked, and emerging mycotoxins contamination across the regions with an average of 5 and up to 24 out of 42 investigated Fusarium
mycotoxins, including 1 to 3 masked forms at the same time. Data obtained show that fumonisin B1,
, and A1
were the most prevalent mycotoxins and had maximum contamination levels of 8908, 3383, 990, 1014, and 51.5 µg/kg, respectively. Deoxynivalenol occurred in 50% of the samples with a mean concentration of 152 µg/kg (max 1380 µg/kg). Thirty-three percent of the samples were contaminated with zearalenone at a mean concentration of 13.6 µg/kg (max 146 µg/kg). Of the masked mycotoxins, DON-3-glucoside occurred at a high incidence level of 53%. Among emerging toxins, moniliformin, fusarinolic acid, and beauvericin showed high occurrences at 98%, 98%, and 83%, and had maximum contamination levels of 1130, 3422, and 142 µg/kg, respectively. Significant differences in the contamination pattern were observed between the agricultural regions and maize types.
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