Biomonitoring of Dietary Mycotoxin Exposure and Associated Impact on the Gut Microbiome in Nigerian Infants

Kolawole I Ayeni, David Seki, Petra Pjevac, Bela Hausmann, Magdaléna Krausová, Dominik Braun, Lukas Wisgrill, David Berry (Corresponding author), Benedikt Warth (Corresponding author), Chibundu N Ezekiel (Corresponding author)

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed


Mycotoxins are toxic chemicals that adversely affect human health. Here, we assessed the influence of mycotoxin exposure on the longitudinal development of early life intestinal microbiota of Nigerian neonates and infants (NIs). Human biomonitoring assays based on liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry were applied to quantify mycotoxins in breast milk (n = 68) consumed by the NIs, their stool (n = 82), and urine samples (n = 15), which were collected longitudinally from month 1-18 postdelivery. Microbial community composition was characterized by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing of stool samples and was correlated to mycotoxin exposure patterns. Fumonisin B1 (FB1), FB2, and alternariol monomethyl ether (AME) were frequently quantified in stool samples between months 6 and 18. Aflatoxin M1 (AFM1), AME, and citrinin were quantified in breast milk samples at low concentrations. AFM1, FB1, and ochratoxin A were quantified in urine samples at relatively high concentrations. Klebsiella and Escherichia/Shigella were dominant in very early life stool samples (month 1), whereas Bifidobacterium was dominant between months 3 and 6. The total mycotoxin levels in stool were significantly associated with NIs' gut microbiome composition (PERMANOVA, p < 0.05). However, no significant correlation was observed between specific microbiota and the detection of certain mycotoxins. Albeit a small cohort, this study demonstrates that mycotoxins may influence early life gut microbiome composition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2236-2246
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number5
Early online date22 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2024

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 106026 Ecosystem research
  • 106059 Microbiome research
  • 106022 Microbiology


  • chemical exposome
  • contaminants
  • early life exposure
  • food safety
  • gastrointestinal microbiome
  • sub-Saharan Africa

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