Plasma decontamination of mycotoxins and inactivation of fungi in food industry




General Data

Member of UL: Veterinary Faculty 

Name of the leading partner: Jožef Stefan Institute, Dr. Martina Modic

Status: partner

Project code/ Projet No.: J4-1770

Project Title: Plasma decontamination of mycotoxins and inactivation of fungi in food industry

Project period: 1. 7. 2019–1. 7. 2022

Yearly sum of FTE: 1,2 FTE (UL VF 0,12 FTE)

Leader: Dr. Gabrijela Tavčar Kalcher

Scientific field: Biotechnology

Partners: Jožef Stefan Institute, UL Veterinarska fakulteta, Nacionalni inštitut za biologijo


Project phases


Project description

Mycotoxins, secondary metabolites of moulds, are cytotoxic and mutagenic compounds that are found on over 25 % of the global food and feed crop. Such contamination is extremely difficult to eradicate necessitating that contaminated products be removed from the food, efforts that place an enormous burden on food producers. Recent activities by the team at Jožef Stefan Institute have demonstrated that cold atmospheric pressure plasma (CAP) treatment of mycotoxin contamination provides a step change improvement in decontamination efficacy over competing techniques, suggesting that CAP maybe a breakthrough technology in the global struggle against mycotoxins. Despite promising initial results, the underpinning mechanisms governing CAP interaction with mycotoxin contamination remain elusive due to the immense complexity of the situation. Without this vital fundamental information CAP technology will not be accepted by industrial users and its true potential will never be realised. To address this complex and multifaceted challenge, this project will apply state of the art diagnostic techniques to uncover the primary degradation pathways and breakdown products resulting from CAP mycotoxin interaction. No such information is currently available which presents an exciting opportunity to uncover novel science with true global impact. Finally, to ensure the safety of the process, the toxicity of plasma treated mycotoxins will be assessed and the impact of CAP treatment on the underlying food matrix be explored, ultimately demonstrating that CAP is the first safe, effective and reliable decontamination tool in the fight against mycotoxins.


Structure of the project group