Study Reveals Presence of Patulin Toxin in Fruits Throughout Supply Chain

by Ella

The existence of patulin, a mycotoxin produced by certain molds, in fruits poses a significant food safety concern. Its potential presence across various stages of the food supply chain highlights the need for vigilant monitoring and intervention to safeguard consumers’ health. A recent investigation conducted by Government College University Faisalabad delved into the prevalence of patulin in selected fruits, ranging from orchard to market, shedding light on the extent of contamination and signaling areas for necessary intervention to uphold food safety standards.

The study encompassed a thorough analysis of 442 fruit samples sourced from farms, transportation routes, and marketplaces. Utilizing High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) with a UV detector, researchers scrutinized the samples for patulin presence. Results unveiled that 17% of farm-originating samples, 23% from transportation channels, and 28% from market sources tested positive for patulin contamination. Alarmingly, 56% of fruits sampled during transportation surpassed the 50 μg/kg patulin threshold, with 41% of market samples following suit.


Despite a lack of statistically significant variation in patulin levels across supply chain stages as per one-way analysis of variance (p > 0.05), correlation studies employing Kendall’s tau_b and Spearman’s rho highlighted robust associations between patulin levels and supply chain stages. Apples emerged as the frontrunner in patulin dietary intake, averaging 0.11 μg/kg body weight per day, with a maximum mean hazard quotient peaking at 0.28.


This study’s revelations echo previous research on mycotoxin contamination in food products, such as aflatoxins and others found in Semen Persicae, underlining the pervasive nature of mycotoxin contamination across various food items. Additionally, inquiries into traditional dehulling and fermentation methods’ efficacy in reducing mycotoxin levels in maize products underscore potential interventions in mitigating mycotoxin contamination.


Government College University Faisalabad’s investigation extends these findings by scrutinizing patulin contamination in fruits across the entire supply chain. It underscores the imperative of stringent monitoring and intervention measures at every juncture, underscoring the necessity for similar interventions witnessed in the fruit supply chain.


Employing HPLC with a UV detector yielded precise patulin level measurements, underlining advanced analytical techniques’ efficacy in mycotoxin detection. This aligns with other studies employing innovative methods, like solid-phase dispersive extractant coupled with ultra-performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS), to enhance mycotoxin detection sensitivity and accuracy, crucial for upholding food safety standards.

In essence, Government College University Faisalabad’s inquiry offers vital insights into patulin contamination prevalence in fruits along the supply chain. It underscores the ongoing need for rigorous monitoring and effective control measures to curtail mycotoxin levels, not only in fruits but across various food items. This study, in conjunction with prior research on mycotoxin contamination and mitigation, underscores persistent challenges and potential remedies in fortifying global food safety standards.



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