Optimizing sampling of grain for mycotoxin contamination

The overall aim of this project is to determine optimal sampling of grain batches for mycotoxin contamination. First, the heterogeneity of mycotoxin contamination in individual batches will be investigated. Second, the potential use of a hyperspectral camera to screen for mycotoxin contamination of parts of batches will be explored.

Certain types of mycotoxins, like aflatoxins, are known to be heterogeneously distributed in (large) batches of grains. This makes it difficult to determine the concentration, and the range of concentration, in a batch. By sampling large amounts of subsamples of a one batch, the range of contamination will be determined. The results will be statistically analysed to determine an optimal sampling protocol. Since analysing large amounts of subsamples is very expensive, the use of a hyperspectral camera will also be explored.

The project will run during the end of 2015. From a large batch of maize contaminated with aflatoxins, 100 subsamples have been collected by Cargill. These samples will be provided as inkind contribution to this project. Samples will be analysed for aflatoxin contamination, both using LC-MS/MS and the hyperspectral camera. Results will be compared, and analysed statistically to determine the minimal required number of samples for providing a good estimate on the mean concentration and the range of concentration in the batch.