Annual variation of dietary deoxynivalenol exposure during years of different Fusarium prevalence: a pilot biomonitoring study

Silvia W Gratz, Anthony J Richardson, Gary Duncan, Grietje Holtrop

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Dietary exposure to deoxynivalenol (DON) has been reported previously in the UK, but levels were low and most individuals are well protected by the maximum permitted levels in food set by the European Commission. However, no information is available on annual fluctuation in dietary DON exposure. We hypothesised that dietary DON exposure may vary when individuals consume cereals derived from harvests with low (2011) and high (2012) Fusarium prevalence. In this pilot study, spot urine samples were collected in years 1 and 2 from 15 volunteers following their habitual diet. Urinary DON was analysed by LC-MS/MS to estimate 24-h DON excretion and daily dietary DON intake. DON was detectable in all urine samples with an average excretion of 10.08 ± 9.13 µg/24-h urine in year 1 which significantly (p = 0.005) increased to 24.84 ± 13.83 µg/24-h urine in year 2. This resulted from an estimated dietary intake of 195.94 ± 166.44 ng DON kg(-1) BW in year 1 and 518.64 ± 292.49 ng DON kg(-1) BW in year 2. Based on these estimates, the tolerable daily intake for DON was exceeded in 13% of occasions in year 2 and none in year 1. This pilot study is based on estimates of DON intake derived from urinary DON excretion. Results suggest that DON exposure varies annually and that current maximum levels might not sufficiently protect consumers during years of high Fusarium prevalence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1579-1585
Number of pages7
JournalFood additives & contaminants. Part A, Chemistry, analysis, control, exposure & risk assessment
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2014



  • mycotoxin
  • urinary biomarker
  • tolerable daily intake

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