Mycotoxins and Their Inhalatory Intake Risk

  • Elena PieckováEmail author


Mycotoxins are defined as the secondary metabolites of certain moulds and are toxic to vertebrates (warm-blooded). Their chemical nature is rather variable, non-proteinal and nonvolatile. Primarily, they contaminate plants, and through them, they reach animals and their products. The mycotoxins represent serious health risks for consumers, including genotoxic effect leading to mycotoxicosis, an ill health status. The hygienic limits for mycotoxins in foods and feeds are set legislatively all over the world. The adverse biological effects can be caused by the inhalation of a mycotoxin dose at a minimum level that is one tenth of the elementary one. Mostly, aflatoxins, ochratoxins, Fusarium mycotoxins and stachybotryotoxins have been identified in the air of occupational and dwelling environments so far. The precise measurements remain limited due to lack of sensitive and accurate methods of detection. The immunosuppressive, haematotoxic, cytotoxic and inflammatory effects of the complex mixtures of toxicants produced by Aspergillus versicolor and Stachybotrys chartarum of indoor origin have been discussed in this chapter. Complex toxic fungal metabolites break down the self-cleaning mechanism of the airways, induce systemic damages and are enhanced by simultaneous action of other indoor contaminants (cigarette smoke). They can finally result in the ill health of occupants of damp mouldy dwellings, starting with respiratory disorders and probably culminating in general intoxication especially in children with burning metabolism.


Food/feed hygiene Occupational/indoor exposure Carcinogenicity Inflammation Sick building syndrome 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of MedicineSlovak Medical UniversityBratislavaSlovakia

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