Mycotoxins detected
in wheat and barley
harvested in Serbia
in 2019 and 2020

What was the level of contamination of wheat and barley with mycotoxins in 2019 and 2020? We find out in this survey with samples from Serbia.

Jog Raj*, Hunor Farkaš, Zdenka Jakovcevic and Marko Vasiljevic

PATENT CO, DOO., Vlade Ćetkovića 1A, Mišićevo 24211, Serbia

*Corresponding author: jog.raj@patent-co.com

The aim of the present study was to screen wheat and barley samples for mycotoxins harvested in 2019 and 2020.

The wheat and barley samples were collected from various regions of Serbia. These samples were analysed by LC-MS/MS triple quad (Agilent 6460 series) based multi-mycotoxin method for quantication of all mycotoxins present (Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), B2, G1 and G2, Ochratoxin A (OTA), Zearalenone (ZEN), Deoxynivalenol (DON), Fumonisin B1 and B2 (FB1 & FB2), T-2 & HT-2 toxins) that are regulated in the EU in feed by EU Directive 2002/32/EC, 2006/576/EC and 2013/165/EU.

The results are summarised as shown below.

MYCOTOXINS DETECTED in Barley

In 2019, 97% of the barley samples were contaminated with one or more mycotoxins. In 2020, 23% of samples were contaminated with one or more mycotoxins. This data shows that barley harvested in 2020 is less contaminated with mycotoxins as compared to 2019.

Figure 1. Number (%) of mycotoxins detected in barley samples (2019 and 2020)

The mean contamination levels of OTA, ZEN, DON, FB1, HT-2 and T-2 were 8 ppb, 114 ppb, 3175 ppb, 51 ppb, 27 ppb and 19 ppb (Table 1). Aflatoxins were not detected in barley harvested in 2019. In 2020, ZEN, DON, HT-2, and T-2 with a level of 203 ppb, 1105 ppb, 29 ppb and 28 ppb were detected in barley samples. These results showed the co-occurrence of Fusarium mycotoxins and OTA in barley samples from Serbia, but the levels were higher in 2019 as compared to 2020 harvest.

Table 1. Mycotoxin contamination levels detected (ppb) in the barley samples from Serbia in 2019 and 2020

The data in Table 2 shows that in 2019 OTA in 15%, ZEN in 34%, DON in 67%, FB1 in 2%, HT-2 in 47% and T-2 in 21% samples were detected in barley samples. In 2020 ZEN in 4%, DON in 11%, HT-2 in 19 % and T-2 in 7% samples were detected in barley samples using LC-MS/MS.

Table 2. % positives of barley samples from Serbia in 2019 and 2020 barley harvest

MYCOTOXINS DETECTED in Wheat

In 2019, 99% of the wheat samples were contaminated with one or more mycotoxins. In 2020, 18% of samples were contaminated with one or more mycotoxins (Figure 2). This data shows that wheat in 2020 is not much contaminated with mycotoxins as compared to 2019 harvest as 82% samples did not contain any mycotoxins.

Figure 2. Number (%) of mycotoxins detected in wheat samples (2019 and 2020)

The mean contamination levels of OTA, ZEN, DON, FB1, FB2, HT-2 and T-2 were 10 ppb, 311 ppb, 2027 ppb, 191 ppb, 72 ppb, 17 ppb and 19 ppb (Table 3). Aflatoxins were not detected in wheat harvested in 2019. In 2020, OTA, DON, and HT-2 with a level of 3 ppb, 899 ppb and 14 ppb were detected in wheat.

Table 3. Mycotoxin contamination levels detected (ppb) in the wheat samples from Serbia in 2019 and 2020 harvest

The data in Table 4 shows that in 2019, OTA in 12%, ZEN in 60%, DON in 98%, FB1 in 6%, FB2 in 2%, HT-2 in 40% and T-2 in 19% samples were detected in wheat samples. In 2020 OTA in 4%, DON in 11% and HT-2 in 7% samples were detected in wheat samples using LC-MS/MS.

These results again showed co-occurrence of Fusarium mycotoxins and OTA in wheat samples from Serbia, but the levels and prevalence was higher in 2019 as compared to 2020.

Table 4. %positives of wheat samples from Serbia in 2019 and 2020

CONCLUSIONS

This survey of barley and wheat samples for mycotoxins from Serbia shows that wheat and barley harvested in 2020 is less contaminated with mycotoxins as compared to 2019 harvest. These results show how weather conditions can affect different mycotoxins levels in crops from year to year basis.

This survey is performed on a limited number of samples, and proper mycotoxin risk assessment should be performed according to results of analysis in each feed mill or farms.

If this wheat and barley is intended for use in feed then the analysis of feed for mycotoxins is recommended as other components of feed e.g. corn, wheat bran, etc. can contain mycotoxins therefore use of mycotoxins binder in feed is also recommended.



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