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Huge quantities of food are wasted every year because they are invaded by toxic fungi or undesired fungal products. This is most likely to occur in hotter countries where food shortages may already be a problem.
Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites produced by fungi that usually belong to the Aspergillus, Penicillium or Fusarium genera. They can be produced on a wide range of agricultural commodities and under a diverse range of agronomic and ecological conditions worldwide.
Mycotoxins have been estimated to affect a quarter of the world’s food crops, including many basic foodstuffs and animal feeds, as well as cash crops such as coffee having high economic value. Mycotoxins accumulation in foods and feeds represents a major threat to human and animal health as they are responsible for a variety of toxic effects including the induction of cancer, and digestive, blood and nerve defects.
Because of the scale of the problem, which also affects European crops, the European Commission has recently funded a number of research projects to investigate several aspects related to toxic fungi and mycotoxins in food crops. The MYCO-GLOBE Specific Support Action of the VI Framework Programme, begun in October 2004, has been set up to exchange results with other countries that have bilateral science and technology agreements with the EU, within the wider framework of a global information system on mycotoxins and toxigenic fungi. A consortium of international experts, acting as the MYCO-GLOBE steering committee, decided to found the “International Society for Mycotoxicology” in order to more effectively disseminate knowledge and skills on Toxigenic Fungi and Mycotoxins.
The Society is registered as a non-profit association in accordance with the Italian law from which it derives all rights as a legal entity.
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