1. Home
  2. Blog
  3. Emerging mycotoxins and climate change
Emerging mycotoxins and climate change
January 23 2023

Emerging mycotoxins and climate change


Mycotoxins are toxic substances produced by certain types of fungi and are present in many foods and animal feeds.

Emerging mycotoxins are the ones just being discovered or recently identified and detected in food or feed. These represent a food safety concern because they are not yet fully studied and can be difficult to detect and manage throughout the agrifood chain. Emerging mycotoxins can also be considered as not generally present in certain geographic areas but due to climate change and globalization have begun to spread and develop even in areas where they were not present.

Mycotoxins can cause harm to human and animal health, particularly when consumed in large quantities or over long periods. This is precisely why they remain in the spotlight of food safety authorities such as EFSA, which continues to study and assess the risk of human and animal exposure to these contaminants and collects occurrence data and levels even for emerging mycotoxins kept under observation

They are typically found in foods such as cereals, nuts, dried fruits and spices. Aflatoxins, Ochratoxin A (OTA), and Fusarium toxins (such as deoxynivalenol, DON) are the ones that pose the greatest food safety concern. Among the emerging mycotoxins, Beauvericin (CEA), Ennianthines (ENN), and Alternaria toxins are frequently mentioned, too. The cumulative effect, the exposure to different toxins at the same time, and the modified mycotoxins are other factors to take into account.

Emerging toxins and climate change

One of the first causes of the emergence of new mycotoxins is certainly climate change, which promotes the growth of certain fungal species.

Climate change influences several factors that can increase the risk of mycotoxin contamination: increased temperature, increased rainfall, thus increased humidity, or drought in other geographic areas. These changes can enhance the growth and development of fungal species and the formation of toxins.

Climate change can also alter the growth cycle of crops and the resistance to fungal diseases, making them more vulnerable.

University of Bath: development of Fusarium mycotoxins in European wheat and climate change

According to the University of Bath, European wheat is increasingly susceptible to contamination by harmful mycotoxins that can also be dangerous to animals and humans.

The study was based on data collected from Member States over the past 10 years and found out that Fusarium mycotoxins were present in all European countries. In particular, about 50% of wheat for human consumption contained Deoxynivalenol (DON), for which indeed the European Commission sets maximum levels in Regulation (EC) 1881/2006, which may undergo review as for T2 and HT-2 toxins. The study discovered that 25% of DON-positive wheat also had other Fusarium toxins, thus causing cumulative effects and an underestimation of consumer exposure levels.

How to address the problem of emerging mycotoxins?

  • Effective prevention and control strategies
  • Sustainable agricultural practices
  • Proper storage and handling
  • Monitoring of mycotoxin levels in foods
  • Developing increasingly sensitive analytical methods to detect more and more analytes

The analytical solutions of Mérieux NutriSciences

Analysis of emerging mycotoxins and mycotoxins is crucial to ensure food safety and quality of food and feed. Mérieux NutriSciences offers several analytical solutions to detect mycotoxins, and the laboratories are equipped with the most advanced technologies and highly qualified experts to ensure accurate and reliable results.

Mérieux NutriSciences provides support in the definition and management of emerging mycotoxins by offering information on how to prevent the presence of mycotoxins and how to manage any problems related to emerging mycotoxins, also thanks to the updating and monitoring of food alerts at global level, through digital tools (Safety HUD).

Mycotoxins pose a challenge to food safety, so the analysis is essential to ensure food and feed safety: Mérieux NutriSciences is ready to provide the analytical and technical support to deal with such challenge.


Bebber D.P. et al., Emerging health threat and cost of Fusarium mycotoxins in European wheat, 2022, Nature food
Misiou O., Koutsoumanis K., Climate change and its implications for food safety and spoilage, 2021, Trends in Food Science & Technology
Ahmad S.F. et al., Chapter Emerging Food Toxins and Contaminants, 2022, Handbook of Plant and Animal Toxins in Food
EFSA, Climate change as a driver of emerging risks for food and feed safety, plant, animal health and nutritional quality, 2020

Share it with your network
Work with Us
Consult our positions
Contact us
Mérieux NutriSciences Corporation ©2023