Mycotoxins in wheat cultivated in the Netherlands : results from eight years of field surveys

Fels-Klerx, H.J. Van der; Focker, Marlous; Rijk, Theo De; Liu, Cheng


In the period 2009–2018, an annual field survey with commercial arable farms in the Netherlands was held, to collect data on agronomics of wheat fields as well as mycotoxin concentrations of the specific wheat field at harvest. In total, 293 full farm field records over 8 years were obtained. This study aimed to investigate (i) the occurrence of deoxynivalenol (DON) and other mycotoxins, as well as correlations between these mycotoxins, and (ii) the relationships between agronomics and the DON concentration in wheat kernels for wheat cultivated in the Netherlands. Results showed that mycotoxins most frequently observed in concentrations above the limit of quantification were DON, enniatin B and B1, HT-2 toxin, zearalenone (ZEN) and nivalenol. On average, DON was detected in 54% of the samples (> 50 µg/kg) ranging from 19 to 92% depending on the year. Positive samples (> 50 µg/kg) had DON concentrations ranging 53–15,400 µg/kg, with a median of 228 µg/kg. Co-occurrence between DON and ZEN as well as between each of DON and ZEN with their modified forms was confirmed by the data of this study. The year influenced the DON concentration in wheat the most, followed by the region. The results of this study show that DON levels in wheat can only be influenced in a limited manner by agronomic practices such as the use of fungicides against Fusarium spp. around flowering, crop rotation, or the use of resistant wheat cultivars.