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Fusarium head blight and deoxynivalenol in malting and brewing: successes and future challenges

Schwarz, Paul B.
Tropical plant pathology 2017 v.42 no.3 pp. 153-164
Fusarium head blight, barley, beers, brewing, brewing industry, deoxynivalenol, food pathogens, food safety, malt, malting, pathogenesis
While beer is safe in terms of foodborne pathogens, mycotoxins on grains present brewers with food safety issues. Most studied are pathogens that cause Fusarium head blight (FHB) and produce deoxynivalenol (DON) during pathogenesis. This article intents to provide a concise review of FHB and DON in malting and brewing. Despite the fact that FHB was recognized as a cause of quality problems in the early twentieth century, it was the discovery of several trichothecenes in the 1970’s, and implementation of regulations in the 1990’s that lead brewers to be more concerned with FHB. Several studies have shown that DON is frequently found on barley and in beer, and that its levels may increase during malting. Selection of low DON grain, adequate storage, and process modifications are often, but not always, effective in reducing malt DON levels. The low levels of DON detected in commercial beer suggest brewers and maltsters have largely been successful in preventing highly contaminated materials from entering the processing chain. However, information on the co-occurence of mycotoxins in beer is becoming increasingly available, and future challenges to the brewing industry are likely to come from regulation of other mycotoxins. The growing craft segment also presents some potential challenges.