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The association research group 'MYCOTOXINS and TOXIGENIC MOULDS' strives to solve current mycotoxin problems endemic in human food and animal feed by incorporating it into a global research framework, based on 4 main units:
- Prevention and control of moulds in the food and feed chain
- Mycotoxin analysis and method development
- Classification and identification of moulds
- Effect of mycotoxins on animal health

This well-structured multidisciplinary research group, which deals with all known aspects of mycotoxins and toxigenic mould issues, is able to provide the most adequate strategies and solutions for the different stakeholders

Prevention and control of moulds in the food chain

The knowledge of the physiology and mycotoxin production of toxigenic moulds is a central aspect to this research domain. Therefore, the occurrence of moulds in food and feed as well as different parameters that influence mould growth are being investigated. Based on the existing information and knowledge, prevention and control strategies are being developed.

Mycotoxin analyses and method development

This unit is specialized in the development and validation of analytical methods for mycotoxin analyses, including chromatographic methods (e.g. multi-mycotoxin LC-MS/MS; ergot alkaloids; mycotoxin biomarkers of exposure and masked mycotoxins) as well as the immunobased rapid tests.
Innovating research techniques such as MIPs (molecularly imprinted polymers) and biosensors are introduced for mycotoxin analysis.

Identification, prediction and characterization of fungi

Within this unit, new PCR-techniques were recently optimised and applied to identify different Fusarium species. Pursuing a combined genetic, microscopic and in vitro approach, this unit identifies toxigenic fungi and tries to elucidate environmental factors conducive for the production of mycotoxins. In addition, using ordinal regression techniques, the research unit develops ready-to-use predictive models for fungi and their mycotoxins in the field.

Effect of mycotoxins on human and animal health

This research unit studies the influence of mycotoxins on the intestinal health in animals, eventually as model for humans. Besides, the toxicity of (masked) mycotoxins and usefulness of mycotoxin detoxifiers are evaluated through absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME) studies. In addition, this unit investigates the influence of mycotoxins on the course of several animal infectious diseases.