Fungal flora and deoxynivalenol (DON) level in wheat from Jeddah market, Saudi Arabia
Deoxynivalenol (DON) is one of the least toxic trichothecenes, however, it is the most prevalent trichothecenes in human foods and its presence is an indicator of the possible incidence of other more toxic trichothecenes. This study aimed to explore the fungal flora along with the DON concentration in the collected wheat samples from Jeddah market to correlate between this flora and the detected DON. Whole grain wheat samples were collected from Jeddah market and this represents imported and locally produced wheat. The results indicated in this study showed high incidence of Aspergilli. The high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) chromatogram of the samples showed high DON resolution. DON was detected in a range of 15 to 800 μg/kg in the collected samples although no Fusarium species was detected in these samples. The 200 μg/kg DON level (the safe limit for baby foods and young children) was exceeded by 50% of some of the imported samples. The presence of some toxigenic fungi in these samples should set the alarm of possible contamination of these samples with other mycotoxins during storage. However, the level of DON in all wheat samples was within the permissible level of DON in unprocessed wheat which is 1750 μg/kg according to the European Commission.
Keywords: Mycoflora, mycotoxins, deoxynivalenol (DON), wheat, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia