A healthy diet is a basic requirement for a long and healthy life and consequently, access to safe and nutritious food is considered a basic human right. MYCX-IT contributes to food safety by providing novel insights on the combined effects of co-occurring mycotoxins (toxins produces by fungi) on human health. The obtained insights also contribute to our understanding of mixture effects of food contaminants in general and as such, can help to better protect human health.
Genetic damage through mycotoxin exposure
The MYCX-IT project aims to assess the genetic damage induced by exposure to relevant mixtures of co-occurring mycotoxins. Several mycotoxins found in food/feed are, or suspected to be, genotoxic compounds and are an important threat for human and animal health. Until now, risk assessment has mainly focused on individual mycotoxins and little is known on their combined (genotoxic) effects.
More than 1 mycotoxin can be present in food and feed, e.g.:
- multiple mycotoxigenic fungi can colonize the same food or feed material
- most fungal species are able to produce different mycotoxins simultaneously
Given these facts, the combined effects of co-occurring mycotoxins on human health, including genotoxicity, need to be assessed. Such studies require the use of relevant mycotoxin mixtures, thus composed of mycotoxins that can actually co-occur in food.
There is a need for a more quantitative analysis of results of genotoxicity tests. For this reason, genotoxicity data generated within MYCX-IT are analysed with the BenchMark Dose (BMD) approach, which also allows to evaluate mixture effects. This will help to further build confidence in this concept for analysis and interpretation of in vitro genotoxicity data of both individual compounds and mixtures.