Numerical optimization of temperature-time degradation of multiple mycotoxins

Sefater Gbashi, Ntakadzeni Edwin Madala, Sarah De Saeger, Marthe De Boevre, Patrick Berka Njobeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Mycotoxins are potent food contaminants that exert significant deleterious effects on human and animal health, yet, there is limited and often conflicting data on their thermal stability. The present study systematically investigated the thermal degradation patterns of multiple mycotoxins as a function of temperature and time, in pure form and spiked into a food matrix (maize flour), using a numerical modelling approach. Mycotoxins under investigation included aflatoxins (AFs), fumonisins (FBs), zearalenone and its analogue α and β epimers (ZEAs), ochratoxins (OTs), T-2 toxin (T-2), alternariol monomethyl ether (AME) and sterigmatocystin (STEG). A set of statistically-designed experiments were conducted, and a second-order optimization function fitted to the experimental data. The resultant models were well fit with R 2 values ranging from 0.87 to 0.99 and 0.89 to 0.99, for pure mycotoxin standards and spiked maize flour, respectively. It was also possible to statistically determine the optimum degradation conditions which were 216.57 °C/63.28 min and 210.85 °C/54.71 min for pure mycotoxins and spiked into maize flour, respectively. Our observations herein could be critical for food safety applications targeted at reducing or at best eliminating completely multi-mycotoxins in food using heat processing while limiting the destruction of food quality factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-304
Number of pages16
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Mycotoxins
  • Numerical modeling
  • Optimization
  • Thermal degradation
  • Thermal stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Toxicology


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