Human mature milk zearalenone and deoxynivalenol levels in Turkey.

INTRODUCTION: Zearalenone (ZEA) and deoxynivalenol (DON) are toxic fungal secondary metabolites, found mainly in contaminated food, that are associated with serious health problems. It is important to identify undesirable toxins and metabolites that may be present in human milk. The aim of this study was to evaluate human milk ZEA and DON levels, total daily intake of ZEA and DON; and their possible relationship with maternal dietary habits. METHODS: We enrolled 90 lactating mothers who had 7- to 90-day-old babies. A dietary questionnaire was completed by each of the mothers. Human milk samples were obtained from 90 mothers, and human milk ZEA and DON levels were evaluated with the solid-phase direct enzyme immunoassay. The total daily intake (TDI) was calculated for the 63 exclusively breastfed infants. RESULTS: ZEA was detected in all human milk samples; median was 173.8 ng/L (35.7-682 ng/L). The calculated median TDI for ZEA was 33.0 ng/kg body weight (bw) (10.4-120.5 ng/kg) among exclusively breast-fed infants, none of them had a TDI that was above the previously defined threshold levels. Human milk ZEA levels were associated with the maternal consumption of meat, fish, dry fig, dried apricot, flaked red spice and spice. The median DON levels was 3924 ng/L (400-14997 ng/L). The median TDI of DON was 750 ng/kg (240-2774 ng/kg) among exclusively breastfed infants and 36% out of them, the TDI for DON was above the previously defined threshold level. Human milk DON levels were associated with the maternal meat consumption. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings are indicative of dietary exposure to mycotoxins during the pregnancy and lactation periods in nursing mothers. Further, the excessive TDI values for DON observed in 36% of the exclusively breastfed infants point to the need for further regulations and recommendations on the dietary habits of pregnant/nursing mothers in order to avoid exposure to potential mycotoxins.

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