Mycotoxin levels and incidence of mould in Turkish rice
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One hundred unpackaged rice samples, each weighing 500 g, were randomly collected at retail stores and open markets in the largest rice growing area (Thrace) in Turkey and analysed for mould counts, predominant mould genera, moisture content and mycotoxin levels. Mould counts ranged from 1.0 x 10(1) to 1.5 x 10(4) cfu/g in 70 of 100 samples, and the correlation between moisture content and mould count was significant (p a parts per thousand currency signaEuro parts per thousand 0.05). Aspergillus spp. and Penicillium spp., potential mycotoxin producers, were the dominant moulds. In one area from which samples were collected, the mycotoxin content of rice was found to be positively correlated with moisture content; samples with higher moisture also contained higher numbers of moulds. The levels of total aflatoxins, aflatoxin B1 and ochratoxin A were higher than the maximum tolerable limits (4, 2 and 3 mu g/kg, according to the EC Regulation and the Turkish Food Codex) for 32, 14 and 30 of 100 rice samples, respectively. This is the first comprehensive report of ochratoxin A levels in rice grown in Thrace, Turkey.