Fusarium moniliforme Sheldon occurs worldwide on corn intended for human and animal consumption. A closely related species Fusarium proliferatum also occurs frequently on corn. Yellow dent corn, white dent corn, white and yellow popcorn and sweet corn may be contaminated. Both organisms are capable of producing fumonisins, including Fumonisin B1 (FB1), Fumonisin B2 (FB2) and Fumonisin B3 (FB3). Fumonisins have been found in corn and corn based foods worldwide. Fumonisins may be found in sound whole kernel corn at levels at or below 1.0 microgram/g. By contrast animal disease problems begin to occur at fumonisin levels above 5.0 to 10.0 micrograms/g. Corn based food products that have the most frequent and highest fumonisin levels, besides whole kernel corn, are corn meal, corn flour and corn grits. In the U.S., corn meal and flour have been found contaminated with FB1 at levels from 0.5 to 2.05 micrograms/g, and grits from 0.14 to 0.27 microgram/g. Corn flakes, corn pops, corn chips and tortilla chips have typically been found negative when tested for fumonisins. Popcorn, sweet corn and hominy corn have been found contaminated with sporadic, low levels (0.01 to 0.08 microgram/g) of fumonisins. Contamination levels of corn based foods in Europe appear to be similar to slightly lower than similar products in the U.S., with the possible exception of Italy, where their corn hybrids and corn-based foods appear to be more frequently contaminated with higher levels of fumonisins.
PMID: 8850603 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]