Risk to consumers from fungal toxins in shellfish should be monitored

Sep 05, 2013

To protect consumers, screening shellfish for fungal toxins is important, say scientists.

Research, published today (06 September) in the Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM) journal, Letters in Applied Microbiology, shows that in an area with contamination by strains of Penicillium fungus, bivalve molluscs (clams, oysters, mussels, scallops, etc.) will contain toxins at much higher levels that are found in the surrounding environment.

Professor Yves François Pouchus, from the University of Nantes, France, led the research, he said "A high level of toxins in the shellfish tells us that we have to be careful not to underestimate the impact of certain Penicillium strains in the water where shellfish are harvested for ."

Professor Pouchus' team have found that the fungi actually produce more toxin when growing inside or in a medium containing mussel extract.

Although toxins from Penicillium don't cause acute food poisoning, they can have a negative impact on cells and DNA. In theory, these could cause health issues in the long term, such as cancer.

Pouchus concluded "At this point, we think it would be pertinent to begin screening edible shellfish for mycotoxins in order to protect consumers."

Explore further: Biologists demonstrate how signals in plant roots determine the activity of stem cells

Related Stories

Cause of mussel poisoning identified

Mar 24, 2009

The origin of the neurotoxin azaspiracid has finally been identified after a search for more than a decade. The azaspiracid toxin group can cause severe poisoning in human consumers of mussels after being ...

Recommended for you

Understanding how cells follow electric fields

May 28, 2015

Many living things can respond to electric fields, either moving or using them to detect prey or enemies. Weak electric fields may be important growth and development, and in wound healing: it's known that ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.