Free and Modified Mycotoxins in Organic and Conventional Oats (Avena sativa L.) Grown in Scotland

Noshin Daud, Valerie Currie, Gary Duncan, Joao A. N. Filipe, Tomoya Yoshinari, Gary Stoddart, Deborah Roberts, Silvia W. Gratz* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Small grain cereals are frequently infected with mycotoxigenic Fusarium fungi. Oats have a particularly high risk of contamination with type A trichothecene mycotoxins; their glucoside conjugates have also been reported. Agronomy practices, cereal variety and weather conditions have been suggested to play a role in Fusarium infection in oats. The current study investigates concentrations of free and conjugated Fusarium mycotoxins in organic and conventional oats grown in Scotland. In 2019, 33 milling oat samples (12 organic, 21 conventional) were collected from farmers across Scotland, together with sample questionnaires. Samples were analysed for 12 mycotoxins (type A trichothecenes T-2-toxin, HT-2-toxin, diacetoxyscirpenol; type B trichothecenes deoxynivalenol, nivalenol; zearalenone and their respective glucosides) using LC-MS/MS. The prevalence of type A trichothecenes T-2/HT-2 was very high (100% of conventional oats, 83% of organic oats), whereas type B trichothecenes were less prevalent, and zearalenone was rarely found. T-2-glucoside and deoxynivalenol-glucoside were the most prevalent conjugated mycotoxins (36 and 33%), and co-occurrence between type A and B trichothecenes were frequently observed (66% of samples). Organic oats were contaminated at significantly lower average concentrations than conventional oats, whereas the effect of weather parameters were not statistically significant. Our results clearly indicate that free and conjugated T-2- and HT-2-toxins pose a major risk to Scottish oat production and that organic production and crop rotation offer potential mitigation strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number247
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Early online date28 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2023


  • Fusarium mycotoxins
  • trichothecenes
  • masked mycotoxins
  • organic
  • conventional
  • oats


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