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Strategies to reduce mycotoxins in grain side product streams enabling their reintroduction into the food value chain

Picture 1 and 2: Unsplash, Picture 3: Fusarium verticillioides (Wikipedia)

Description

Wheat is one of our key staple foods worldwide and offers high nutritional value, especially when consumed in the form of whole grain. Food safety has become a major challenge within crops in recent years: an estimated 25% of all global crops are affected by moulds. Certain moulds produce mycotoxins, toxic compounds that are chemically stable and survive food processing. Their physiological effects upon consumption range from acute poisoning to immune deficiency or cancer.

In general, the degree of contamination in grain goes down from outer to inner kernel layers. This is one of the reasons why even today white and medium-white flour are primarily produced despite the development of sensorially desirable whole grain products and why wheat bran is mostly used as animal feed or sometimes burnt.

Our team consisting of researchers from the fields of biotechnology, food biotechnology, food chemistry and food technology will work on developing solutions to reduce mycotoxins in grain through the application of functional microorganisms and / or tailored enzymes. Novel processing approaches will allow the application of said microorganisms and/or enzymes to wheat grains and sophisticated analysis will be applied to determine the effectiveness. As a result, the safe use of whole grain and wheat bran with their significant health-beneficial components will be enabled, thus contributing to a more sustainable food value chain.

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