Oct 19 - week 9 podcast PPPodcast Week 9 Welcome to the PPPodcast for week 9 The Major Issue for this week is mycotoxins So far you have learned

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week 9 podcast: PPPodcast: Week 9 Welcome to the PPPodcast for week 9. The Major Issue for this week is mycotoxins. So far you have learned that plant pathogens can affect our food supply by lowering crop yields or reducing food quality. In some cases, however, plant pathogens can directly affect humans through the chemicals they produce. Chemicals produced by fungi that are harmful to humans and other animals are called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins can be present in our food without us knowing it because many of them are colorless, odorless and tasteless, yet the presence of these substances can make those who consume them very ill. Mycotoxins can get into the food that we eat when fungal pathogens colonize the plants while they are growing in the field, or colonization can begin in storage, after the crop has been harvested. Over 300 different mycotoxins have been identified, and they are most commonly found in grains, nuts, and other types of seed crops. Mycotoxins cause a number of health problems for humans and other animals. Some mycotoxins are highly carcinogenic, causing liver and esophageal cancers. Others cause birth defects, suppress the immune system, induce abortions, are hallucinogenic, cause restriction of blood vessels, or induce vomiting. So these are things that we definitely want to keep out of the food that we eat and the feed that we give to livestock and pets. Unfortunately, mycotoxins can be difficult to detect. Even grains that show no visible signs of fungal infection can contain dangerous levels of mycotoxins. And once present in a food crop, they can be very difficult to get rid of. Many of these toxins are heat stable, which means that they do not break down when the food is cooked or processed. Detection of mycotoxins in loads of grain is further complicated by the fact that the mold growth tends to occur in clumps or pockets. Thus the mycotoxins are not uniformly distributed, which makes it very important to design a sampling strategy that will accurately measure the mycotoxin level present. If the sampling pattern does not happen to include the affected area, the load would test clean for mycotoxins. And since mycotoxins are harmful in very low concentrations, a small amount of contaminated grain can result in an unacceptable level of mycotoxins in a larger amount of grain. People and animals may avoid eating foods that are obviously moldy, thus reducing our
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This note was uploaded on 11/15/2010 for the course PLPA 200 taught by Professor Darcy during the Spring '08 term at University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.

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Oct 19 - week 9 podcast PPPodcast Week 9 Welcome to the PPPodcast for week 9 The Major Issue for this week is mycotoxins So far you have learned

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