Deoxynivalenol (DON) is a toxic fungal metabolite that frequently contaminates cereal crops. The occurrence of DON in hundred samples of wheat, maize and barley collected from different districts of Uttar Pradesh, India was examined. DON was detected in 30% samples out of which 7% samples exceeded the FSSR (Food Safety and Standard Regulation, India) limit (1 mg/kg). The contamination levels ranged from 0.01 mg/kg to 4.73 mg/kg. Of all the hundred cereal samples analyzed by HPLC, 19 positive samples (within the LOQ of 0.043 mg/kg) were further quantified by HPTLC, which showed comparable results suggesting that HPTLC is an equally reliable and cost effective method. Validation of DON in samples was performed by LC-MS analysis. Based on results of monitoring and the average actual consumption of wheat in India, the 90th percentile value of estimated daily intake (EDI) of DON was found to be 7.72 μg DON/kg body weight which exceeded the Provisional Maximum Tolerable Daily Intake (PMTDI 1 μg DON/kg-bw) proposed by JECFA by 7.7 folds there by suggesting the possibility of DON exposure to humans. Since DON levels have been set for wheat only there is a need to formulate regulatory standards for other cereals so as to reduce the exposure risk to DON.
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