Mycotoxin Spectra as a Biochemical Parameter for Occupational and Environmental Fungus Exposure

M. Müller, Ph.D., J. Bünger, M.D., E. Hallier, M.D., Prof. Center of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, Department of Occupational and Social Medicine, Georg-August-University e-mail:

Mycotoxins are metabolites formed by molds in foodstuffs, fodder and organic waste materials. All molds produce specific mycotoxins and species can be characterized by their mycotoxin spectra. We have established a method for mycotoxin extraction from defined cultures. HPLC separation with diode array detection or iontrap mass spectro-metry and comparison to an authentic standards library was used to screen seven Aspergillus and Penicillium species collected at waste treatment plants for their major mycotoxins. The human hepatocarcinogen sterigmatocystin was detected in Aspergillus versicolor and Aspergillus nidulans. Verruculogen, a potent tremorgen, and fumagillin, formerly used as a cytostatic drug, are mycotoxins found in Aspergillus fumigatus. Penicillium crustosum and Penicillium brevicompactum each produced the tremorgens roquefortine C and penitrem A. The mycotoxin standards library can be used to identify specific mold species in ambient air samples from environmental and occupational investigations.