Tenuazonic Acid: A Potent Mycotoxin

  • Ankita Kumari
  • Neha Nidhi Tirkey


The genus Alternaria includes many allergenic species, saprophytes, and plant and human pathogens and is an inexhaustible manufacturer of secondary metabolites. In pre- and post-harvest conditions, they are frequent contaminants of crops. A variety of agricultural products including grains are commonly infested by Alternaria species. Some of them are psychrophilic in nature and thus are able to colonize even refrigerated commodities. They produce a variety of mycotoxins having acute and chronic effects. Alternaria alternata is the most important mycotoxin-producing species that infests cereals and fruits and, hence, has the potential to pose a serious threat to human and animal health. Tenuazonic acid (TeA) is the most studied Alternaria mycotoxin and is considered to have the highest toxicity amongst them. It causes haemorrhages in several organs, suppression in weight gain and reduction in feed efficiency in animals. It is known to be a powerful inhibitor of eukaryotic protein synthesis, and its association with oesophageal cancer has been reported in human populations at risk of high exposure to TeA. Since TeA is one of the major mycotoxins in humans and other organisms, it is important to minimize TeA contamination in food and feed to avoid health risks. In this regard, the present review discusses the presence of TeA in various food products and their effect on plants and animals. The review has also tried to integrate the information existing on the toxicology and methods of detection and quantification of TeA toxin. The toxicological database on TeA is still limited, and their risk assessment reports remain inconclusive. Thus, new approaches should be considered to investigate the toxicological interactions of TeA in agricultural products, humans and animals.


Alternaria alternata Tenuazonic acid Health risk Human Animal 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ankita Kumari
    • 1
  • Neha Nidhi Tirkey
    • 1
  1. 1.Animal Mycology Laboratory, Department of Zoology, Mahila MahavidyalayaBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia

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