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Progress report of the third period of the post-doctoral research project 1.1.2/VIAA/1/16/219

Over the third period (April – June, 2018) of the project No. 1.1.1.2/VIAA/1/16/219 “Development and application of mass spectrometric methods for the occurrence assessment of regulated and emerging mycotoxins in agricultural and dairy products in Latvia, providing contribution to the priority bio-economy sectors”, several important studies were continued that included work on the dissemination of the results and knowledge transfer activities and work on the progress of outcomes. According to the project’s plan, it was planned to prepare a Latvian patent manuscript based on the researched nanosorbent applications in mycotoxin analysis for the submission to the Latvian Patent Office (WP 1, M 1.6). However, changes in the time schedule were made – this activity was transferred to the next project period due to a number of technical and scientific objective factors. Instead, this activity was replaced by fulfilled M 1.2. of WP 1 (development of method for the detection of mycotoxins in herbal teas). This change was due to a number of successive results obtained or developed at this stage within the scope of Work Package 1 (WP1) “Instrumental method development for the mycotoxin analysis”:

• Amendments to the accepted first scientific article devoted to the review of nanosorbent research methods will be published in the World Mycotoxin Journal (Scopus, citation index 1.7).

• Detailed study of the physical factors of tested nanosorbents, acquisition of samples for analysis (grains of various agricultural crops, flour and processed products), continued work on optimizing methods using solid phase sorbent systems for the method development.

Within the project activities, a method based on HPLC and TOF -MS or MS/MS (selectively for DON) was developed for the analysis of mycotoxins in herbal teas, selected spices/ herbs and their beverages. The results are based on both the dry matter content of the pollutants and the study of mycotoxin transfer in tea infusions. These data showed that aflatoxin B1 and ochratoxin A are not transferred to herbal teas, where some Fusarium mycotoxins can also be found in the infusions even after a 5 min infusion process. Prior to the development of the standard, several factors favoured the implementation and completion of these studies. The applicability of nanosorbents to such matrices, which did not show promising results, was evaluated. However, activities were carried out to disseminate the results of mycotoxin research on herbal teas:

  • Within the networking activities, the postdoctoral student participated in the international scientific conference organized by the Mycotoxin Research Association "40. Mycotoxin Workshop”, which was held on the June 1113, in Munich, Germany. A stand report “Aflatoxin B1 and ochratoxin A in Medical Herbs Marketed in Latvia” was presented as part of networking and knowledge transfer activities (result: conference thesis). This study attracted the interest of researchers from the Baltic States and other food safety research organizations in the Baltics, highlighting aspects of the safety and quality of medical tea in Latvia and neighboring countries.
  • A work on the second publication discussing the results of mycotoxin prevalence in herbal teas was started. It was planned to submit the publication to Mycotoxin Research (indexed by SCOPUS, impact factor: 2.7).
  • an abstract of the results of mycotoxins in herbal teas was submitted to the EcoBalt 2018 scientific conference, which will take place on October 2527 in Vilnius, Lithuania and will bring together several experts in analytical chemistry and environmental science from the Baltic states and abroad. The planned activity will advance in outcome (WP2, M 2.2) and also will allow to promote networking with the international experts and local neighbours from the Baltic states, promoting discussion of mycotoxin distribution in herbs, herbal teas.
  • Within the dissemination activities to society, a popularscience paper was published in a farmer, gardener and general society related popular-science magazine “Saimnieks” (April, 2018). The paper reports on the main problems of mycotoxin formation and prevalence in herbal teas, and possible preventive measures to prevent the development of contamination.
  • Within the planned dissemination activities, a guest lecture was held to the 2nd year students of Nutrition science course from the Riga Stradin’s University, which included combined information of mycotixins: main mycotoxin classes, conditions of their production, their prevalence, food safety concerns, tolerable contamination levels, detection methods, mitigation measures during preprocessing and industrial preparation of food products as well as some information of the recent research data were discussed.

 

The cooperation institution is The State Education Development Agency (SEDA). Project duration is 36 months. Total costs are 133 806 EUR where 85% is financed by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). 

 

The publication was prepared on 28.06.2018.