T-2 toxin is a trichothecene mycotoxin produced when Fusarium fungi infect grains, especially oats and wheat. Ingestion of T-2 toxin contaminated grain can cause diarrhea, hemorrhaging, and feed refusal in livestock. Cereal crops infected with mycotoxin-producing fungi form toxin glycosides, sometimes called masked mycotoxins, which are a potential food safety concern because they are not detectable by standard approaches and may be converted back to the parent toxin during digestion or food processing. The work reported here addresses four aspects of T-2 toxin-glucosides: phytotoxicity, stability after ingestion, antibody detection, and the anomericity of the naturally occurring T-2 toxin-glucoside found in cereal plants. T-2 toxin-β-glucoside was chemically synthesized and compared to T-2 toxin-α-glucoside prepared with Blastobotrys muscicola cultures and the T-2 toxin-glucoside found in naturally contaminated oats and wheat. The anomeric forms were separated chromatographically and differ in both NMR and mass spectrometry. Both anomers were significantly degraded to T-2 toxin and HT-2 toxin under conditions that mimic human digestion, but with different kinetics and metabolic end products. The naturally occurring T-2 toxin-glucoside from plants was found to be identical to T-2 toxin-α-glucoside prepared with B. muscicola. An antibody test for the detection of T-2 toxin was not effective for the detection of T-2 toxin-α-glucoside. This anomer was produced in sufficient quantity to assess its animal toxicity.
The full paper can be downloaded via the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.