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Patulin (PAT)

CAS N° CAS No. 149-29-1
formula: C7H6O4 (4-hydroxy-4H-furo[3,2-c]pyran-2(6H)-one)
molecular weight : 154.12 g mol-1
colourless, crystalline
melting point 110°C
Solubility in water : soluble
EI mass spectrum shows prominent ions at m/z 154 (M+), 136,
126, 110, 97, 82, 71, 69, 55 and 53.

UV absorption: 276 nm (ε =14450)

LD50 : LD50 for the rat has been reported as 15 mg kg-1 bw & 25 mg kg-1 after sub-cutaneous injection
PMTDI = 0.4 µg/kg bw (provisional JEFCA)


Patulin (PAT) is a mycotoxin included in a group of compounds commonly known as toxic lactones. Patulin is a cyclic compound that is not fluorescent. Patulin is particularly associated with apples exhibiting "brown rot" or other rotting characteristics. Any fruit with visible signs of rotting, decay or mold growth can be suspectted of containing Patulin. Patulin has also been identified in numerous other mouldy fruits, vegetables, cereals, and animal feeds; it is stable in apple and grape juices and in dry corn. In almost all cases, however, Patulin contamination has been limited to rotting or mouldy foods.
- is found to be carcinogenic in lab mammals,
- has an effect on carbohydrate metabolism;
- causes breaks in DNA and inhibits aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase
- has an influence on intracellular ion flux and interaction with cellular membranes.
- has antitumor activity


Patulin is a mycotoxin produced by fungi belonging to several genera, including Penicillium, Aspergillus and Byssochlamys species. Although patulin can occur in many moldy fruits, grains and other foods, the major sources of patulin contamination are apples and apple products.


A considerable number of data was provided for juices and derived products, most of the data where provided by the North European countries.
Among the individual juice commodities apple juice has been by far the most investigated, followed by apple juice concentrate.


This item seems to be of bigger concern especially in relationship to good manufacturing practice in fruit juice plants, what is shown by the high number of results from the Federation of the German fruit juice industry.

Patulin occurrence data range from apple concentrate into juice by 7 to 1. The weighed mean of the concentrate is somewhat lower than in the other apple juices. Weighed mean ranged from 5,7μg/kg (pear juice) to 55,8 μg/kg (cider).


The category cider and fresh grape must are not homogeneous, as different degrees of fermentation and sulphur dioxide addition may play an important role. Extreme values may be of local and seasonal importance only.


Pear juice and nectars may be highly affected, but the analysed number of samples throughout Europe is probably not representative. Other juice commodities seem to be of lower importance.


NORMS AND LEGISLATION (maximal allowed levels in feed and food) :
COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 1881/2006 of 19 December 2006, setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs.
COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 401/2006 of 23 February 2006 laying down the methods of sampling and analysis for the official control of the levels of mycotoxins in foodstuffs.



CODA-CERVA is mainly dedicated to scientific research and services in the field of food safety, public and animal health. He also provides analytical facilities for third part by the determination of Fusarium toxins in cereals and cereal products. This activity is accredited according to the European Quality norm ISO 17025.

CODA-CERVA is the Belgian Federal Reference laboratory (NRL) for mycotoxins.

As NRL, the activities of CODA-CERVA are focused on scientific research developing leading edges in order to help analytical laboratories to develop their own activities and/or to properly use commercial analytical techniques. Our main activities are :
- education of the personnel of external laboratories and coordination between the National reference laboratory (NRL), the European reference laboratory (CEN) and the analytical laboratories, by the organization of scientific meetings about the activities done by the NRL and emerging researches.
-helping the authorities regarding new legislation and regulation about emerging mycotoxins by development of new analytical methods.


The Operational Direction "Chemical Safety of the Food Chain" focuses his research in developing analytical methods for the determination of Patulin:

- A method has been developed for the determination of PAT among the potential emerging mycotoxins in stored cereals. Using this tool, the impact of grain contamination was assessed with special attention on the mycotoxigenic potential of grain dust.
-In collaboration with other research teams in Belgium, a study devoted to the comparison of PAT levels along organic and conventional foodstuffs.
- In collaboration with other research teams in Belgium, isolation, identification and purification of well known patulin producing fungi
- Silages: tracking of patulin and emerging mycotoxins



Alfons Callebaut
Philippe Debongnie
Emmanuel Tangni
Bart Huybrechts
Jorina Geys



- Tangni E.K., Pussemier L., Bastiaanse H., Depoorter J., Haesaert G., Robbens J. & Van Hove F. 2008. Characterization of fungal species and Mycotoxin contaminating silages in Belgium Project C3/00/22 Belspo.


- Tangni E.K., Pussemier L. 2007. Ergosterol and mycotoxins in grain dusts from fourteen Belgian cereal storages: a preliminary screening survey. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 87 (7): 1263-1270.


- Chandelier A., Michelet J.Y., Tangni E.K., Baert K., Moons E., Vinkx C., 2004, Mycotoxin surveys in Belgium and toxigenic Fusarium in Belgian wheat. In: Logrieco A. and Visconti A. (Editors) An overview on toxigenic fungi and mycotoxins in Europe. (pp 11-32). Kluwer Academic Publishers. Dordrecht (The Netherlands).


- Tangni E.K., Theys R., Mignolet E., Maudoux M., Michelet J.Y., Larondelle Y. 2003. Patulin in domestic and imported apple-based drinks consumed in Belgium : occurrence and exposure risk assessment. Food Additives and contaminants 20 (5): 482-489.


Patulin: A chemical concern for apple producers and processors

Assessment of dietary intake of Patulin by the population of EU Member States: Reports on tasks for scientific cooperation (Report of experts participating in Task 3.2.8, March 2002)

Quality control materials
FAPAS®, The Food and Environment Research Agency, Sand Hutton, York, UK, YO41 1LZ

Proficiency testing scheme for patulin determination
BIPEA, Organizing interlaboratory comparisons tests and assistance for laboratories to manage, maintain and improve their performances, F-92230 Gennevilliers, France.

European Mycotoxin Awareness Network