Mycotoxin profiling of 1000 beer samples with a special focus on craft beer

Jeroen Peters*, Ruud van Dam, Ronald van Doorn, David Katerere, Franz Berthiller, Willem Haasnoot, Michel W.F. Nielen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Currently beer is booming, mainly due to the steady rise of craft breweries worldwide. Previous surveys for occurrence of mycotoxins in beer, were mainly focussed on industrial produced beer. The present survey reports the presence of mycotoxins in craft beer and how this compares to industrial produced beer. More than 1000 beers were collected from 47 countries, of which 60% were craft beers. A selection of 1000 samples were screened for the presence of aflatoxin B1, ochratoxin A (OTA), zearalenone (ZEN), fumonisins (FBs), T-2 and HT-2 toxins (T-2 and HT-2) and deoxynivalenol (DON) using a mycotoxin 6-plex immunoassay. For confirmatory analysis, a liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method was developed and applied. The 6-plex screening showed discrepancies with the LC-MS/MS analysis, possibly due to matrix interference and/or the presence of unknown mycotoxin metabolites. The major mycotoxins detected were DON and its plant metabolite deoxynivalenol-3-β-D-glucopyranoside (D3G). The 6-plex immunoassay reported the sum of DON and D3G (DON+D3G) contaminations ranging from 10 to 475 μg/ L in 406 beers, of which 73% were craft beers. The popular craft beer style imperial stout, had the highest percentage of samples suspected positive (83%) with 29% of all imperial stout beers having DON+D3G contaminations above 100 μg/L. LC-MS/MS analysis showed that industrial pale lagers from Italy and Spain, predominantly contained FBs (3-69 μg/L). Besides FBs, African traditional beers also contained aflatoxins (0.1-1.2 μg/L). The presence of OTA, T-2, HT-2, ZEN, β-zearalenol, 3/15-acetyl-DON, nivalenol and the conjugated mycotoxin zearalenone 14-sulfate were confirmed in some beers. This study shows that in 27 craft beers, DON+D3G concentrations occurred above (or at) the Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI). Exceeding the TDI, may have a health impact. A better control of brewing malts for craft beer, should be put in place to circumvent this potential problem.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0185887
Number of pages27
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


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