The Fusarium mycotoxins in Finnish cereal grains: How to control and manage the risk







Luke’s funding for the finalization of a Ph.D. dissertation

1) Introduction, the aims o f the study

The central goal of grain cultivation is the production of high-quality food or feed-related raw materials for the processing industry. To reach the goal safety aspects of cereal grains have to be verified in addition to the high technical quality of grains. Fusarium fungi and head blight have always emerged in Finland after rainy and poor summer weather conditions. During the 1960s and 1970s the spectrum of Fusarium species and the ability of the fungi to produce mycotoxins in domestic grain were subject to extensive investigation. The summer of 1987 was again very rainy and cold, and there was abundant and even visible occurrence of Fusarium head blight in grains. At this time, the study of toxin concentrations was also intensified further. A decade passed, and another very rainy and cold summer was encountered in 1998. The last straw of the risk of mycotoxins in magnitude was the summers 2012 and 2013. Even up to a quarter and a fifth of domestic oats in grain trading, respectively, were not accepted for food use because of DON concentrations exceeded the EU limit value.

The aims of the present study are to produce updated information of Fusarium species and the toxins produced by them in Finnish cereal grains in the years 1987–2014. Another important objective is to determine on the basis of the toxin contents and agronomic and climatic factors behind the studied samples how to control and manage the Fusarium mycotoxin risk.

The study is a doctoral research.