The mycotoxin Ochratoxin A (also known as “OTA”) is formed by the mold fungi of the Aspergillus and Penicillium species.

The mold toxin is extremely harmful to the health of humans and animals. In addition to the pronounced nephrotoxicity, ochratoxin A also have hepatotoxic, teratogenic, carcinogenic and immunosuppressive characteristics.

It is predominantly found in grains, nuts, legumes, coffee, spices and dried fruit, if the food was not dried sufficiently prior to storage. However, it does not only contaminate food of plant origin. Food of animal origin can also be harmful to the health of humans. The toxin can accumulate in the organs of the animals that are fed with contaminated feed and thus, lead to substantial economic losses in terms of livestock. Ochratoxin A was already detected in pigs’ blood and kidneys as well as human blood and breast milk. In humans, ochratoxin A is assumed to be the reason for the so-called Danubian endemic familial nephropathy, which occurs in regions around the world where high concentrations of ochratoxin can be found in grains and cereals.

Ochratoxin limit values are available for a broad range of food. Furthermore, a limit value of 30 μg/kg was specified for pepper products (including chili powder, cayenne pepper and paprika seasoning) by 12/31/2014, which was then reduced to 15 μg/kg.

The R-Biopharm Group has been working on the research and production of mycotoxin test kits for more than 20 years and has already developed numerous test formats for the different requirements of the food industry. RIDASCREEN® ELISA tests and the OCHRACARD® screening cards are available for the screening and quantification of ochratoxin A in different samples. Immunoaffinity columns such as OCHRAPREP® are used in conjunction with HPLC in order to purify complex and strongly-colored food samples, including spices. In doing so, the respective mycotoxin is concentrated in order to achieve highly-sensitive and exact test results.

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