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Assessment of urinary deoxynivalenol biomarkers in UK children and adolescents

Papageorgiou, Maria; Wells, Liz; Williams, Courtney; White, Kay; De Santis, Barbara; Liu, Yunru; Debegnach, Francesca; Miano, Brunella; Moretti, Giorgio; Greetham, Stephanie; Brera, Carlo; Atkin, Stephen L.; Hardie, Laura J.; Sathyapalan, Thozhukat


Maria Papageorgiou

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Mrs Liz Wells
Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics

Courtney Williams

Kay White

Barbara De Santis

Yunru Liu

Francesca Debegnach

Brunella Miano

Giorgio Moretti

Stephanie Greetham

Carlo Brera

Stephen L. Atkin

Laura J. Hardie



© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Deoxynivalenol (DON), the mycotoxin produced mainly by Fusarium graminearum and found in contaminated cereal-based foodstuff, has been consistently detected in body fluids in adults. Available data in children and adolescents are scarce. This study assessed urinary DON concentrations in children aged 3–9 years (n = 40) and adolescents aged 10–17 years (n = 39) in the UK. Morning urine samples were collected over two consecutive days and analysed for free DON (un-metabolised form), DON-glucuronides (DON-GlcA), deepoxy deoxynivalenol (DOM-1), and total DON (sum of free DON, DON-GlcA, and DOM-1). Total DON was detected in the urine of > 95% of children and adolescents on both days. Mean total DON concentrations (ng/mg creatinine) were 41.6 and 21.0 for children and adolescents, respectively. The greatest total DON levels were obtained in female children on both days (214 and 219 ng/mg creatinine on days 1 and 2, respectively). Free DON and DON-GlcA were detected in most urine specimens, whereas DOM-1 was not present in any sample. Estimation of dietary DON exposure suggested that 33–63% of children and 5–46% of adolescents exceeded current guidance regarding the maximum provisional tolerable daily intake (PMTDI) for DON. Although moderate mean urinary DON concentrations were shown, the high detection frequency of urinary DON, the maximum biomarker concentrations, and estimated dietary DON exposure are concerning.


Papageorgiou, M., Wells, L., Williams, C., White, K., De Santis, B., Liu, Y., …Sathyapalan, T. (2018). Assessment of urinary deoxynivalenol biomarkers in UK children and adolescents. Toxins, 10(2), 50.

Acceptance Date Jan 17, 2018
Online Publication Date Jan 23, 2018
Publication Date Feb 1, 2018
Deposit Date Feb 21, 2018
Publicly Available Date Feb 21, 2018
Journal Toxins
Electronic ISSN 2072-6651
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 2
Article Number 50
Pages 50
Keywords Mycotoxins; Deoxynivalenol; Fusarium graminearum; Children; Adolescents; Biomonitoring
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Copyright Statement
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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