Detection of Mycotoxin Exposure of Employees at the Workplace and its Effects on the Respiratory Tract - Project 1

  • Project number: F 2575
  • Institution: Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA)
  • Status: Ongoing Project
  • Planned end: 2027-09-30


Workplaces that include activities with organic materials such as hay, grain or waste, have an increased occurrence of molds and thus an increased potential for employees to be exposed to mycotoxins, which, for example, can enter the body through inhalation. Mycotoxins are a heterogeneous group of predominantly low-molecular toxic metabolic products of molds and can have toxic effects on humans and animals even in low concentrations.

Risk assessment of activities involving exposure to toxic bioaerosol components, and the resulting occupational safety measures are usually determined based on the measurement of endotoxins, which can only originate from bacteria. The toxic potential of mycotoxins, on the other hand, has not yet been taken into account. There is also a need to update the status report on the "Significance of mycotoxins in workplace-related risk assessment", which was published by the Committee on Biological Agents (ABAS, 2007).

The project is part of a bundle of two parallel projects. The general aim is to determine the mycotoxin exposure of employees at workplaces with an increased occurrence of mold like they can be found in e.g., feed storages or animal husbandry. This is in order to be able to better classify the health risk of exposure to inhalable mycotoxins relevant to the workplace. To this end, bioaerosol samples are collected and processed at workplaces and exposed employees will undergo a biomonitoring. The samples will be characterised with regard to mold species and mycotoxin occurrence. Bacterial species and their toxins will also be recorded. After isolating the mycotoxins from the bioaerosol samples, their toxic effect is analysed using in vitro lung models.

The mycotoxins identified in both projects will be compared and mycotoxins relevant to the workplace will be derived from them. The results of both projects will be communicated to the ABAS for the updating of the status report, the concretisation of the exposure level approach of TRBA 400 and the development of specific technical rules for activities with mycotoxin hazards.

Further Information


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