Presence of citrinin in grains and its possible health effects
Background: Citrinin is a mycotoxin produced by several species of the genera Aspergillus, Penicillium and Monascus and it occurs mainly in stored grain. Citrinin is generally formed after harvest and occurs mainly in stored grains, it also occurs in other plant products. Often, the co-occurrence with other mycotoxins is observed, especially ochratoxin A, which is usually associated with endemic nephropathy. At the European Union level, systematic monitoring of Citrinin in grains began with the aim of determining its highest permissible amount in food. Thus, far the systematic monitoring of the above mentioned mycotoxin in Croatia is yet to begin.
Materials and Methods: The main goal of this study was to determine the presence of Citrinin in grains sampled in the area of Međimurje, Osijek-Baranja, Vukovar-Srijem and Brod-Posavina County. For the purpose of identification and quantification of citrinin, high performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC) with fluorescence was used (Calibration curve k ≥ 0.999; Intra assay CV = 2.1%; Inter assay CV = 4.3%; LOQ < 1 μg/kg).
Results: From the area of Međimurje County, 10 samples of corn and 10 samples of wheat were analyzed. None of the samples contained Citrinin (<1 μg/kg). From the area of Osijek-Baranja and Vukovar-Srijem County, 15 samples from each County were analyzed. The mean value for the samples of Osijek-Baranja County was 19.63 μg/kg (median=15.8 μg/kg), while for Vukovar-Srijem County the mean value of citrinin was 14,6 μg/kg (median=1.23 μg/kg). From 5 analyzed samples from Brod-Posavina County, one of the samples contained citrinin in the amount of 23.8 μg/kg, while the registered amounts in the other samples were <1 μg/kg.
Conclusion: The results show that grains from several Counties contain certain amounts of Citrinin possibly indicating a significant intake of citrinin in humans. It must be stated that grains and grain-based products are the basis of everyday diet of all age groups, especially small children, where higher intake of citrinin can occur. Consequently, we emphasize the need for systematic analysis of larger amount of samples, from both large grains and small grains, especially in the area of Brod-Posavina County, in order to obtain more realistic notion of citrinin contamination of grains and to asses the health risk in humans.
Keywords: Citrinin, cereals, Balkan nephropathy, risk assessment