Bühler initiated a study performed at two German rye mills to establish how the level of ergot alkaloids’ (EA) can be influenced by grain cleaning and milling processes, in order to support the industrial milling companies in managing the growing risks associated with mycotoxins.
Ergost alkaloids are a major group of mycotoxins.
The study was carried out by Bühler with two industrial partners, a large milling group and an independent food safety laboratory. Applying the official sampling guidelines of the European Union, 10 rye lots of 12 tons each were tested at two mills. “Effective reductions of EA concentrations were found for the processing steps: separation by size (Combi cleaner, rotary screen), optical sorting (SORTEX), and surface treatments (scourer with aspirator). By far the highest statistical significance of EA reduction could be obtained by optical sorting,” Matthias Graeber, expert in mycotoxin reduction at Bühler, explains in a press release. “This confirms the central importance of optical sorting in the rye supply chain, both at grain reception facilities and in mills.”
Bühler technologies help achieve commercially viable yields – regardless of incoming product quality, the statement says. For example, in a specific case the company has helped an Italian corn producer to recover 70–80% of contaminated maize and boost it from biomass to feed grade quality. The processes also make an important contribution to reducing post-harvest losses on a global level.
Mycotoxins, produced by fungal mold, are a growing health threat to people and animals. A quarter of the world’s agricultural produce is currently contaminated, according to the FAO.
The need to protect health by limiting exposure to mycotoxins from grains is increasingly imperative, particularly in light of a recent United Nations (UN) report which confirmed the impact of climate change on food safety and security.