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Ergot Alkaloids in Wheat and Rye Derived Products in Italy

Reparto di Sicurezza Chimica degli Alimenti—Istituto Superiore di Sanità, 00161 Rome, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Foods 2019, 8(5), 150;
Received: 29 March 2019 / Revised: 19 April 2019 / Accepted: 25 April 2019 / Published: 1 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxicity, Detection and Prevention of Food Contaminants)
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Genus Claviceps is a plant pathogen able to produce a group of toxins, ergot alkaloids (EAs), whose effects have been known since the Middle Ages (ergotism). Claviceps purpurea is the most important representative specie, known to infect more than 400 monocotyledonous plants including economically important cereal grains (e.g., rye, wheat, triticale). EAs are not regulated as such. Maximum limits are in the pipeline of the EU Commission while at present ergot sclerotia content is set by the Regulation (EC) No. 1881/2006 in unprocessed cereals (0.05% as a maximum). This study aimed to investigate the presence of the six principal EAs (ergometrine, ergosine, ergocornine, α-ergocryptine, ergotamine and ergocristine) and their relative epimers (-inine forms) in rye- and wheat-based products. Of the samples, 85% resulted positive for at least one of the EAs. Wheat bread was the product with the highest number of positivity (56%), followed by wheat flour (26%). Rye and wheat bread samples showed the highest values when the sum of the EAs was considered, and durum wheat bread was the more contaminated sample (1142.6 μg/kg). These results suggest that ongoing monitoring of EAs in food products is critical until maximum limits are set. View Full-Text
Keywords: mycotoxins; ergot alkaloids; wheat; rye; UHPLC-MS/MS mycotoxins; ergot alkaloids; wheat; rye; UHPLC-MS/MS

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Debegnach, F.; Patriarca, S.; Brera, C.; Gregori, E.; Sonego, E.; Moracci, G.; De Santis, B. Ergot Alkaloids in Wheat and Rye Derived Products in Italy. Foods 2019, 8, 150.

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