CSIC study reveals mycotoxins in bee pollen

The study he led High Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), in collaboration with the University of Almería, discovered the presence of mycotoxins in pollen samples from as many as 28 countries. Which represent a latent threat to human health, mycotoxins were found:

  1. Aflatoxin B1
  2. Ochratoxin A
  3. Zearalenone
  4. Deoxynivalenol

Mycotoxins are a family molecules found in food. They too can have carcinogenic effects and are described as immunosuppressants.

Bee pollen is a natural product valued for its nutritional and medicinal benefits. It is gaining popularity due to its possible use as feed and livestock supplement.

What did the study reveal?

Using immunoenzymatic tests, the study assessed the presence of mycotoxins in 80 bee pollen samples from countries such as: China, Spain, United States, India, Italy and Russia, among others.

“Through the ELISA technique, mycotoxins were detected in all analyzed samples”, he explains. María Dolores Hernando, researcher at the Experimental Station for Arid Zones (EEZA-CSIC).

The researcher points out that these samples, apart from different origins, include great diversity in characteristics pollen sold for human consumptionas:

  • Form of production (conventional and ecological)
  • Floral composition (mono and multifloral)
  • Processed (fresh, dehydrated and bee bread pollen)
Bee pollen is a natural product valued for its nutritional and medicinal benefits. Photo: Freepik

Exposure to mycotoxins

The CSIC research team also assessed the exposure limit as an indicator of the level of health hazard associated with the presence carcinogenic mycotoxins. In addition to the risk associated with exposure to one or more mycotoxins.

For that, consumption data from A comprehensive European food consumption database from European Food Safety Agency (EFSA, for the acronym in English), for different population groups.

In 28% of the analyzed cases, the content deoxynivalenol exceeds toxicological reference values. While aflatoxin B1, due to its concentration and detection frequency of 98%, is considered to be of high concern in 84% of cases.

Due to the lack of information about the scope contamination with dangerous substances bee pollen, a number of questions remain about the safety of this bee product.

Researchers emphasize the need to improve the process of drying and preserving pollen. As well as expansion food safety controls products that are generally considered low consumption, they conclude.

The CSIC research team assessed the exposure limit for the presence of carcinogenic mycotoxins. Photo: Freepik


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