European survey on sterigmatocystin in cereals, cereals-based products, beer and nuts

H.G.J. Mol, S.J. MacDonald, C. Anagnostopoulos, M. Spanjer, T. Bertuzzi*, A. Pietri

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Based on the EFSA proposal 'Survey on sterigmatocystin in food' (GP/EFSA/CONTAM/2013/02), this study provides a survey on the occurrence of this mycotoxin. A total of 1,259 samples of cereal grains (429), cereal products (713), beer (53) and nuts (64) were analysed for the presence of sterigmatocystin (STC). Samples were mainly collected at processing plants, storage facilities, wholesale and retail between August 2013 and November 2014, in nine European countries, mostly Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The products originated from 27 European countries and 18 other countries. All samples were analysed by methods based on liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry. The limit of quantification (LOQ) was 0.5 μg/kg and the limit of detection (LOD) was in the range 0.05-0.15 μg/kg (0.005-0.01 μg/l for beer). Overall, STC was identified in 10% of the samples; it was not detected in either beer or nut samples. More than 50% of the contaminated samples contained levels between LOD and LOQ; in the other cases, levels were between 0.5-6 μg/kg with one exception (33 μg/kg in oats). In cereal grains, rice and oats seemed the cereals most prone to STC contamination (100% unprocessed rice, 22% oats grains); however the number of rice samples was limited (n=28) and the samples were collected almost exclusively in Italy and Greece. In cereal products, levels were lower than in cereal grains. The highest incidence was in processed rice (21%) and breakfast cereals (19%), while for the other cereal products this was between 5-7%. In the contaminated cereal products, rice and oats were often present as ingredients.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)633-642
    JournalWorld Mycotoxin Journal
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Beer
    • Cereals
    • Nuts
    • Rice
    • Sterigmatocystin


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