Archives of Toxicology

, Volume 89, Issue 4, pp 573–578 | Cite as

Occurrence of the mycotoxin citrinin and its metabolite dihydrocitrinone in urines of German adults

  • Nurshad Ali
  • Meinolf Blaszkewicz
  • Gisela H. Degen
Toxicokinetics and Metabolism


As data on food contamination with the mycotoxin citrinin (CIT) are scarce, a recently developed method for biomarker analysis (Blaszkewicz et al. in Arch Toxicol 87:1087–1094, 2013) was applied to investigate CIT exposure of German adults. CIT and its human metabolite dihydrocitrinone (HO-CIT) were determined in urine samples from a group of 50 healthy adults (n = 27 females and n = 23 males). After cleanup by immunoaffinity (CitriTest®) columns, extracts were analyzed by LC–MS/MS. The mycotoxin and its major metabolite HO-CIT were detected in 82 and 84 % of all urine samples, at concentrations ranging from 0.02 (limit of detection, LOD) to 0.08 ng/mL for CIT, and 0.05 (LOD) to 0.51 ng/mL for HO-CIT. Median urine analyte levels in the cohort were 0.03 (CIT) and 0.06 ng/mL (OH-CIT) or adjusted to creatinine 20.2 ng/g crea (CIT) and 60.9 ng/g crea (HO-CIT), respectively. Except for higher urinary CIT levels in males, differences between subgroups were not significant. This first biomarker analysis indicates widespread and variable exposure to CIT in German adults, and conversion of ingested mycotoxin to its less toxic metabolite HO-CIT, which may serve as biomarker of exposure in addition to the parent compound.


Citrinin Dihydrocitrinone Exposure Mycotoxins Urine 



The authors wish to thank Iris Glaeser for excellent technical assistance. We are grateful for a gift of CitriTest® columns (from Vicam, Dr. Stephen Powers). This work was supported by a DAAD scholarship to N.A. and a grant to G.H.D. from the Brigitte und Wolfgang Gedek-Stiftung.

Conflict of interest

None of the authors have any conflict of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nurshad Ali
    • 1
  • Meinolf Blaszkewicz
    • 1
  • Gisela H. Degen
    • 1
  1. 1.Leibniz-Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo) at TU DortmundDortmundGermany

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