Employees at grain elevators and compound feed mills are exposed to large amounts of grain dust during work, frequently leading to airway symptoms and asthma. Although the exposure to grain dust, microorganisms, β-1→3-glucans and endotoxins has been extensively studied, the focus on the mycotoxin content of grain dust has previously been limited to one or few mycotoxins. Our objective was therefore to screen settled grain dust from grain elevators and compound feed mills for fungal metabolites by LC/MS-MS and explore differences between work places, seasons and climatic zones. Seventy fungal metabolites and two bacterial metabolites were detected. Trichothecenes, depsipeptides, ergot alkaloids, and other metabolites from Fusarium, Claviceps, Alternaria, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and other fungi were represented. The prevalence of individual metabolites was highly variable, and the concentration of each metabolite varied considerably between samples. The prevalence and concentration of most metabolites were higher in grain elevators compared to compound feed mills. Differences between seasons and climatic zones were inconclusive. All samples contained multiple mycotoxins, indicating a highly complex pattern of possible inhalational exposure. A mean exposure of 20 ng/m3 of fungal metabolites was estimated, whereas a worst case scenario estimated as much as 10 ?g/m3. Although many of these compounds may...

Straumfors, Anne; Uhlig, Silvio; Eriksen, Gunnar Sundstøl; Heldal, Kari Kulvik; Wijnand, Eduard; Krska, R.; Sulyok, M.
World Mycotoxin Journal 8(3): 361–373
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