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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Optical Characterization of Free-Falling Mold-Damaged Wheat Kernel

Author
item Delwiche, Stephen

Submitted to: Proceedings of SPIE
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: November 3, 2007
Publication Date: December 1, 2007
Citation: Delwiche, S.R. 2007. Optical characterization of free-falling mold-damaged wheat kernel. Proceedings of SPIE. V.6761.

Interpretive Summary: In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the authority to regulate mycotoxins, inclusive of deoxynivalenol (DON), a by-product of the fungal disease Fusarium Head Blight (FHB), as codified in the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Certain mycotoxins, such as aflatoxin, a recognized carcinogen, are regulated through action levels, which can then necessitate official testing for the mycotoxin and can result in the condemnation of grain lots in excess of the action level. Other mycotoxins, including DON, are not regulated by FDA, per se, but instead are voluntarily controlled under the guidelines of advisory levels. Previous research by the author has shown that commercial high-speed optical sorters are on average 50 percent efficient at the removal of mold-damaged kernels; however, under more careful control in the laboratory, this efficiency can rise to 95 percent or better. Ongoing research is examining the potential to achieve the higher, kernel-at-rest efficiencies, but at conditions that are similar to those encountered in real-time processing. Knowledge gained from this research will provide design criteria for improvement of high-speed optical sorters for reduction of DON in raw cereals commodities, as well as in finished food products. Sorting equipment manufacturers, milling companies, government inspectors, and ultimately, the food consuming public are the intended beneficiaries of this research.

Technical Abstract: One of the most common molds that infects the seeds of small cereals worldwide, such as wheat, is Fusarium Head Blight (FHB). The mycotoxin, deoxynivalenol (also known as DON or vomitoxin) is often produced by this mold, which, upon ingestion, causes health problems to not only livestock (especially non-ruminants), but to humans as well. In the United States, the FDA has established advisory levels for DON in food and feeds, a practice that is likewise conducted by most countries of the world. Our previous research has shown that commercial high-speed optical sorters are on average 50 percent efficient at the removal of mold-damaged kernels; however, under more careful control in the laboratory, this efficiency can rise to 95 percent or better. Ongoing research is examining the potential to achieve the higher efficiencies at conditions that are more akin to those of commercial processing. For example, multispectral information is collected on single kernels in freefall at the sub-millisecond level. Knowledge gained from this research will provide design criteria for improvement of high-speed optical sorters for reduction of DON in raw cereals commodities, as well as in finished food products.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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