Presence of Fusarium species and other toxigenic fungi in malting barley and multi-mycotoxin analysis by liquid chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry
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A study was carried out on 43 malting barley samples collected in 2013 across the Umbria region (central Italy) to determine the incidence of the principal mycotoxigenic fungal genera, to identify the Fusarium species isolated from the grains, and to detect the presence of 34 fungal secondary metabolites by liquid chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry. The multimycotoxin-method development involved the evaluation of both a two-step solvent and QuEChERS protocol for metabolite extraction. The former protocol was selected because of better accuracy, which was evaluated on the basis of spike-recovery experiments. The most frequently isolated fungal species belonged to the genera Alternaria and Fusarium. The predominant Fusarium species was F. avenaceum, followed by F. graminearum. HT-2 toxin was the most frequently detected mycotoxin, followed by enniatin B, enniatin B1, T-2 toxin, and nivalenol. As a consequence of the observed mixed fungal infections, mycotoxin co-occurrence was also detected. A combination of mycological and mycotoxin analyses allowed the ability to obtain comprehensive information about the presence of mycotoxigenic fungi and their contaminants in malting barley cultivated in a specific geographic area.
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