The existence of contaminants in water or beverages may involve a risk to human and animal health. Thus, their presence must be kept at levels that are tolerable from a toxicological point of view. Sensitive methods for toxin detection and effective decontamination are therefore needed to eliminate or reduce their presence.
Toxins such as mycotoxins, phycotoxins and cyanotoxins are the largest group of natural contaminants (of biological origin, produced by microorganisms) that most frequently appear in water or in the food chain.
Current detoxification methods regarding mycotoxins typically use quenching (adsorption, chelating or sequestering) agents based on their ability to form complexes with them, reducing mycotoxin absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. These methods have a questionable effectiveness since they do not remove toxins from the contaminated raw materials. Likewise, quenching methods for cyanotoxins are used, based on coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, chlorination, ultraviolet irradiation or filtration through different filters, especially activated charcoal or aluminum sulphate. At present there is no effective detoxification method for marine toxins.
The detoxification of contaminated food, feed, or beverages is thus very desirable and important for human and animal health.
A Spanish university has developed a highly effective method able to trap a wide range of natural toxins (such as mycotoxins, phycotoxins and cyanotoxins) existing in a liquid environment such as beer, wine, milk, water, etc. and encapsulate them in magnetic nanoparticles that are afterwards easily removed from the substance. The technology has been successfully tested in relevant environment.
The technology is quick, safe and cheap with no need of new equipments’ installations. It can also be adapted to remove other chemical substances or for extraction procedures.
The university would like to sign a license agreement with a partner interested in commercialise this technology to agrofood or water treatment companies.