, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 211-218
Date: 02 Sep 2010

The presence of ochratoxin A in cord serum and in human milk and its correspondence with maternal dietary habits

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Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a mycotoxin present in food that can be found in human blood and milk.


The link between the nutritional habits of pregnant women both of Italian and foreign nationality resident in Italy and the presence of ochratoxin A in cord blood and in maternal milk was investigated.


The study involved 130 pregnant women. Food consumption during pregnancy was evaluated by means of the EPIC questionnaire; OTA content was determined in cord serum and maternal milk by HPLC.


The mean daily dietary intake of OTA was 1.02 ± 1.20 and 0.87 ± 0.78 ng/kg of bodyweight for Italian and non-Italian women, respectively, but this difference was not statistically significant. The incidence of positive milk samples was 73.0 and 85.0% among the Italian and non-Italian mothers, respectively. Pork meat, soft drinks, sweets and red wine showed a significant relationship with OTA level in serum. As far as milk is concerned, a positive relationship resulted for pork meat, sweets, soft drinks and seed oils. A positive relationship between serum OTA level and the ratio serum/milk OTA was found. The intake of OTA had no effect on the cord blood creatinine level.


This study confirms that OTA is widely present in human milk and therefore could pose a risk for the newborn.