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This study was conducted to investigate the natural co‐occurrence of 295 fungal and bacterial metabolites in 28 samples of dried date palm fruits collected from different shops distributed in Assiut Governorate, Upper Egypt in 2016. Extraction and quantification of the target analytes were done using the “dilute and shoot” approach followed by liquid chromatography‐tandem mass spectrometry (LC‐MS/MS) analysis. In total, 30 toxic fungal metabolites were detected. Among these metabolites, 4 types of ochratoxins including ochratoxin type A and B were quantified in 3 samples (11%) with a contamination range from 1.48 to 6070 μg/kg for ochratoxin A and from 0.28 to 692 μg/kg for ochratoxin B. In addition, fumonisin B2 was observed in 2 (7%) samples with contamination levels ranging from 4.99 to 16.2 μg/kg. The simultaneous detection of fumonisin B2 in the same contaminated samples with ochratoxins indicates the fungal attack by Aspergillus niger species during storage. Only 1 sample was contaminated with aflatoxin B1 (14.4 μg/kg) and B2 (2.44 μg/kg). The highest maximum concentration (90400 μg/kg) was for kojic acid that contaminated 43% of the samples. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first report of the natural co‐occurrence of fumonisin B2 and ochratoxin A and B in addition to a wide range of other fungal metabolites in date palm fruits.Practical Application
Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by different fungi. These metabolites pose a potential risk on human health since they contaminate many food commodities. Among these, date palm fruits which are an integral part of diet in several countries. Therefore, detection of mycotoxins is a prerequisite to insure the safety of food. Here, different types of mycotoxins have been detected in levels that may have health hazard.
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