Master of advanced studies

A risk evaluation matrix for plant toxins in foodstuff

ContributorsFanzun, Martina
Master program titleToxicology
Defense date2019-02-14

Numerous naturally occurring substances like primary and secondary metabolites are produced by plants, including varieties frequently used as foodstuff. In addition, novel dietary habits and actual nutrition trends result in the consumption of less known plant species. To limit the risk of consuming unsafe food, control agencies perform risk-based sampling of food to search for common plant toxins, plant-based adulterants and non-food ingredients. The aim of this work is to establish a risk assessment tool for the evaluation of potential plant toxins in various foodstuffs. This tool consists in a comprehensive multidirectional matrix to support risk assessment. Plant species, toxins, foodstuffs and toxicological data are integrated in this matrix. A "traffic-light" concept helps to quickly evaluate the risk of common plant-based foodstuff. The proof of principle is demonstrated with the evaluation of several real-life plant-based foodstuffs collected in local stores. The evaluated products include smoothies, spice mixtures and special ice teas. Positive and negative examples will be discussed. The results showed that several plant species used as ingredients in theses foodstuff have pharmacological or potential toxicological effect. Moreover, vulnerable populations could be negatively affected by such pharmacological or toxicological effects at the observed concentrations. On the opposite, as common sense suggests, popular mustard and condiments are characterized as safe, proving that the risk evaluation matrix yields valid results. Finally, the limitations of this approach as well as further directions to overcome those limitations will be discussed.

  • Phytochemicals
  • Primary- and secondary plant metabolites
  • Contaminants
  • Foodstuff
  • Food supplements
  • Risk assessment tool
  • Database
  • Evaluation code
Citation (ISO format)
FANZUN, Martina. A risk evaluation matrix for plant toxins in foodstuff. 2019.
Main files (1)
Master thesis
  • PID : unige:157294

Technical informations

Creation12/10/2021 1:36:00 PM
First validation12/10/2021 1:36:00 PM
Update time03/16/2023 2:08:12 AM
Status update03/16/2023 2:08:12 AM
Last indexation08/31/2023 7:12:49 AM
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