Occurrence of patulin and its dietary intake through pear, peach, and apricot juices in Italy
AbstractPear, peach, apricot, and mixed juices (125 samples) were purchased in Italian supermarkets and organic food shops and analysed for patulin content. An overall incidence of 34.4? was observed in the fruit juices, with a mean contamination level of 3.6 µg kg -1 . No one sample exceeded 50 µg kg -1 , the maximum permitted limit according to European legislation. However, 19 positive samples contained more than 10 µg kg -1 of patulin, which is the maximum level permitted for baby food. The incidence of patulin contamination was significantly higher in pear juices (64.1?) than in apricot, peach, or mixed juices. Statistical analysis ( p = 0.002; Kruskal-Wallis test) showed a significantly higher level of patulin in pear (5.1 µg kg -1 ) and mixed juices (4.9 µg kg -1 ) than in the other juices. A slightly higher incidence of positive samples was found in conventional juices (35.7?) compared with the organic ones (29.6?). The magnitude between the mean contamination levels was similar in conventional (3.6 µg kg -1 ) and organic (3.3 µg kg -1 ) juices ( p = 0.474; Mann-Whitney U -test). Samples were further divided based on the fruit content in fruit juices, fruit nectars, and fruit drinks. In fruit nectars the incidence of positive samples (37.8?) was slightly higher than in fruit drinks (27.2?), but the mean patulin contamination was higher in fruit drinks (5.2 µg kg -1 ) than in fruit nectars (3.4 µg kg -1 ). However, the magnitude between the two means was not statistically different ( p = 0.734; Mann-Whitney U -test). Italian juices had a higher incidence of patulin (35.3?), with a lower mean content (3.5 µg kg -1 ), compared with the incidence (22.2?) and level (4.1 µg kg -1 ) foreign juices commercially available in Italy. The magnitude of the means between Italian and foreign juices was not statistically different, according to the Mann-Whitney U -test ( p = 0.616). The estimated intake of patulin ranged from 0.1 to 1.5 ng kg -1 body weight for the whole population and from 0.3 to 5.1 ng kg -1 body weight for the consumers only. The highest patulin intake was estimated for consumers of pear juices, followed by consumers of mixed juices. The daily intake of patulin derived from the consumption of pear juice suggests that also pear juices, though a minor patulin source, could be monitored for their patulin content in order to control the mycotoxin contamination, especially in countries, such as Italy, where pear nectars are preferred as fruit drinks.