MycoProcess - Mycotoxins in cereal based food products of wheat and oats – effect of processing on free/masked mycotoxins and human risk assessment

Risk assessment conducted by The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food (2013) states that the Norwegian population is daily exposed to the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) from ingesting contaminated cereal products. In this project we will study the fate of free and bound (“masked”) forms of mycotoxins in wheat and oats through processing techniques relevant to the Norwegian industry. The ultimate goal of the project is to ensure production of safe and high quality cereal products with respect to mycotoxin contamination.

Cereal based food products potentially contain a wide variety of mycotoxins and their derivatives. A risk assessment made by The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food on mycotoxins in cereal grains in Norway (2013), concluded that children in Norway may be at risk of exceeding the tolerable daily intake for DON by consumption of wheat and oat. Little is known about the long term effects of these mycotoxins, and knowledge about the fate of mycotoxins during cereal processing is limited. An additional challenge is the masked toxin forms which we, until recently, have been unable to detect and study.

There is no scientific community in Norway today that studies the effect of cereal processing on mycotoxins. The MycoProcess project wants to build this national competence by merging already existing knowledge in the field of cereal chemistry, technology and human health (Nofima) with mycology, mycotoxin chemistry and animal health (Veterinary Institute).

The primary objective of the project is to ensure quality cereal products in Norway with respect to mycotoxin contamination; to ensure that cereal food products are safe to eat, and strive towards a greater part of Norwegian cereals to be used for food production.

This will be done by investigating how various processing technologies of wheat and oat (small scale) affect the stability and the composition of free and masked mycotoxin forms. The mycotoxins will be analyzed by multiplex chemical quantification. Optimized processes will be selected and tested in commercial scale together with industrial partners.

Finally, we will conduct risk assessment of the bioavailability of various forms of mycotoxins usingin vitromodels of the human digestive tract.

The final potential of the project is development of processing techniques that minimize the levels of mycotoxins, decrease grain spill and add value to the grain industry. It might provide guidelines for future food policies, assert confidence in Norwegian produced food, and maintain the healthy food label of coarse cereal product.

The project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council, the Norwegian Agriculture Agency (FFL/ JA), and industrial partners.


  • Nofima AS (Ida Rud, Stefan Sahlstrøm, Lada Ivanova)
  • Harper Adams University College (Prof. Simon Edwards)
  • Norgesmøllene AS
  • Lantmännen ek Fôr
  • Felleskjøpet Agri AS


NFR Prosjekter
Mykologi, Mykotoksiner