Bullerman, Lloyd B. Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska.
Ciegler, Alex Southern Regional Research Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture Science and Education Administration, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Klich, Maren A. Southern Regional Research Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Last reviewed:August 2020
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Any of the molds capable of producing toxic substances. The term mycotoxin is derived from the Greek word mykes for fungus or mold and the Latin word toxicum, which means poison or toxin. Thus, the word mycotoxin literally means fungus poison and is a general term for mold-produced toxins, or simply mold toxins, which include a broad group of toxic compounds that are harmful to both humans and animals. Mycotoxins are secondary mold metabolites, which means that they are not part of the primary metabolic growth processes of the mold, and they are difficult to classify due to their diverse chemical structures and biosynthetic origins, their myriad biological effects, and their production by a wide number of different fungal species. Mycotoxins are relatively stable compounds that resist destruction by many food processes and thus pose food safety concerns. See also: Food science; Fungi; Mycology; Toxin
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