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Mycotoxins Levels in Human Milk: A Menace to Infants and Children Health

[ Vol. 9 , Issue. 1 ]


Karina M. Tonon, Mercedes G. R. Reiter and Vildes M. Scussel   Pages 33 - 42 ( 10 )


Infants, especially newborns, are more susceptible to contaminants than adult humans because of their physiological immaturity. Synthetic or natural toxic substances, such as mycotoxins, can lead to acute intoxication episodes, as the example of aflatoxicosis. However, the long-term effects caused by exposure to low levels of these contaminants are of most concern to practitioners and public health authorities. Children's exposure to mycotoxins (and various other toxic compounds) may start immediately after conception, as many contaminants cross the placenta, and continues throughout life, entering the human body through food, water and air. Mycotoxins that offer higher risk to child health are aflatoxins B1 (AFB1), M1 (AFM1) and ochratoxin A (OTA), commonly present in foods consumed by children, such as milk and dairy products. Even breast milk can be a vehicle for the transfer of mycotoxins to babies, since the mycotoxins contained in food ingested by the mother may pass into her milk, continuing childhood exposure to these compounds, initiated in utero. This paper reviews levels reported on mycotoxins in human milk, the influence of maternal diet and the possible effects on children's health.


Human milk, mycotoxins, contaminants, food safety, breastfeeding, maternal and child health, diet, exposure, risk


Food Science and Technology Department, Center of Agricultural Sciences, Federal University of Santa Catarina, P.O. Box 476, Florianopolis–SC, CEP 88034-001, Brazil.

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