Effects of ascorbic acid on patulin in aqueous solution and in cloudy apple juice.Mycotoxin Res. 2019 Nov; 35(4):341-351.MR
Degradation of the mycotoxin patulin (PAT) and the generation of (less toxic) breakdown products, such as (E/Z)-ascladiol (ASC-E/Z) and desoxypatulinic acid (D-PAT), can occur due to chemical, physical and biological treatments. Our study focused on the chemical degradation of PAT in the presence of ascorbic acid (AA) both for pure PAT standard in acidified aqueous solution and for PAT-contaminated cloudy apple juice (CAJ) (obtained via addition of apple mash produced from apples inoculated with Penicillium expansum). Within this framework, different concentrations of AA were evaluated, as well as the presence/absence of oxygen and different storage temperatures. In order to do so, an in-house methodology allowing a good separation of PAT from its reaction and breakdown products was optimized first. The highest PAT reduction (60%) in CAJ with an initial PAT concentration of 100 μg/kg and 0.25% (w/v) AA was achieved after 6 days of incubation at 22 °C in the presence of oxygen. It was also found that the treatment by AA resulted in the generation of degradation products less toxic than PAT (such as (E/Z)-ASC). In conclusion, AA used to improve numerous product quality aspects (e.g. colour (less browning), nutritional value, etc.) and considered as a safe food additive (Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (1999)) has an effect on PAT degradation. It was shown that such degradation generated less toxic compounds in the presence of oxygen. In view of consumers' safety, fortification of apple juice (and possibly apple-based products) with AA could be helpful within an integrated system to ensure products with low levels of patulin. The optimum conditions for such an approach within a legal and practical point of view need to be further explored.