Occurrence

The fumonisins are a class of mycotoxins produced by Fusarium moniliforme, a fungus that is a ubiquitous contaminant of corn, and are also found at high levels in milk and cereal products. Six fumonisins have been isolated and characterized from F. mon-iliforme. They are designated as fumonisin B1 (FB1), B2, B3, B4, A1, and A2. Only FB1 and FB2 appear to be toxicologically significant and have been studied to any extent. FB1 and FB2 were first isolated in 1988 and invariably occur together, with FB2 at levels of 15-35% of FB1. Levels of FB1 have annual variation but are consistently in the 0.5 to 2ppm range in US cornmeal and have been reported as high as 150 ppm in corn destined for human consumption in South Africa. Regulatory limits for fumonisins in commodities are currently being promolugated worldwide.

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