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Comparison of ochratoxin A and deoxynivalenol in organically and conventionally produced beers sold on the Belgian market

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Beer was chosen as a cereal-derived and homogeneous product for a comparison of organic and conventional production methods in terms of mycotoxin contamination levels. Ochratoxin A (OTA, a storage mycotoxin) and deoxynivalenol (DON, a field mycotoxin) were assessed by HPLC in organically and conventionally produced beers sold in Belgium. Immunoaffinity column (OchraTest® and DONPrep®) purification was used prior to HPLC analysis. For in-house validation, recovery experiments, carried out with the spiked beers in the ranges of 50–200ng OTAl −1 and 20–100µg DONl −1 , led to the overall averages of 91% (RSD=10%, n =9) and 93% (RSD=5%, n =27), respectively. Organic beers collected during 2003–2004 were more frequently OTA-contaminated (95%, n =40) than their conventional counterparts (50%, n =40). Conventional beers were OTA-contaminated at a mean concentration of 25ngl −1 (range: 19–198ngl −1 ), while organic beers contained a mean level of 182ngl −1 (range: 18–1134ngl −1 ). High OTA contamination above the limit of 200ngl −1 (up to 1134ngl −1 ) occasionally occurred in organically produced beers. A complementary survey performed with the same brands in 2005 did not confirm this accidental presence of excessive OTA loads (range: 3–67ngl −1 for 10 conventional beers and 19 – 158ngl −1 for 10 organic beers). Establishing a maximum of 3µg OTAkg −1 in malt, the application of the regulation EC No. 466/2001 (entered in force before the last sampling) may be related to the observed improvement. The overall incidence of DON was 67 and 80% in conventional and organic beers, respectively. DON concentrations ranged from 2 to 22µg DONl −1 (mean=6µg DONl −1 ) in conventional beers, while organic beers ranged from 2 to 14µg DONl −1 (mean=4µg DONl −1 ). Thus, DON in beers does not appear to be a major matter of concern. From the statistical tests, it was concluded that the variation between different batches was significant ( P
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Keywords: Belgium; Food safety; beer; conventional; deoxynivalenol; mycotoxin; ochratoxin A; organic

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Unité de biochimie de la nutrition, Institut des Sciences de la Vie, Université Catholique de Louvain, Croix du Sud 2/8, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium 2: Department of Quality and Safety, Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Centre (CODA-CERVA), Leuvensesteenweg, 17, B-3080 Tervuren, Belgium 3: Mycothèque de l'Université Catholique de Louvain (BCCM™/MUCL), Unité de Microbiologie, Croix du Sud 3/6, 1348 Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium 4: Laboratoire de Biochimie Cellulaire, Institut des Sciences de la Vie, Université Catholique de Louvain, Croix du Sud 5/3, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium 5: Laboratory of Food Analysis, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ghent University, Harelbekestraat 72, 9000 Ghent, Belgium

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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