Agro Environmental Research Institute

Budapest, Hungary

Agro Environmental Research Institute

Budapest, Hungary
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Banati H.,Agro Environmental Research Institute | Darvas B.,Agro Environmental Research Institute | Feher-Toth S.,Soft Flow Hungary R&D Ltd. | Czeh A.,Soft Flow Hungary R&D Ltd. | Szekacs A.,Agro Environmental Research Institute
Toxins | Year: 2017

Levels of mycotoxins produced by Fusarium species in genetically modified (GM) and near-isogenic maize, were determined using multi-analyte, microbead-based flow immunocytometry with fluorescence detection, for the parallel quantitative determination of fumonisin B1, deoxynivalenol, zearalenone, T-2, ochratoxin A, and aflatoxin B1. Maize varieties included the genetic events MON 810 and DAS-59122-7, and their isogenic counterparts. Cobs were artificially infested by F. verticillioides and F. proliferatum conidia, and contained F. graminearum and F. sporotrichoides natural infestation. The production of fumonisin B1 and deoxynivalenol was substantially affected in GM maize lines: F. verticillioides, with the addition of F. graminearum and F. sporotrichoides, produced significantly lower levels of fumonisin B1 (~300 mg·kg−1) in DAS-59122-7 than in its isogenic line (~580 mg·kg−1), while F. proliferatum, in addition to F. graminearum and F. sporotrichoides, produced significantly higher levels of deoxynivalenol (~18 mg·kg−1) in MON 810 than in its isogenic line (~5 mg·kg−1). Fusarium verticillioides, with F. graminearum and F. sporotrichoides, produced lower amounts of deoxynivalenol and zearalenone than F. proliferatum, with F. graminearum and F. sporotrichoides. T-2 toxin production remained unchanged when considering the maize variety. The results demonstrate the utility of the Fungi-Plex™ quantitative flow immunocytometry method, applied for the high throughput parallel determination of the target mycotoxins. © 2017 by the authors; Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Szucs V.,Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture | Szabo E.,Food Science Research Institute | Lakner Z.,Szent Istvan University | Szekacs A.,Agro Environmental Research Institute
Food Control | Year: 2016

This study aimed to recognize herb and spice consumption habits as well as to explore certain factors having an influence on it in seven (Austria, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Slovakia, the Netherlands) member states of the European Union. A self-administered questionnaire survey was conducted in each country, comprising of 1731 European adults regularly preparing food at home. Pepper and paprika, as well as parsley and basil were found to be the most frequently consumed spices and herbs, respectively. Validation of the 'spice consumption' model indicated that knowledge regarding health issues of herbs and spices was of high importance, which may have had favourable effects on the consumption habits. In conclusion, this study suggests that emphasising of health issues - directly or as incorporated into gastronomic elements - can be a useful tool for the expansion of herb and spice consumption, as well as globalizing of national cuisines and the consumption of typical national spices and country specific characteristics which can be still identified in Europe. © 2017.

Szekacs A.,Agro Environmental Research Institute | Wilkinson M.G.,University of Limerick | Appel B.,German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment
Food Control | Year: 2017

Spices and herbs, which are consumed in small quantities, but used in a wide range of foods and food products, represent a unique segment within the food sector. Moreover, being distributed as mostly in their dried, low water activity formats and associated with very complex distribution product chains, specific concerns as regards food safety apply to these particular commodities. To promote the capability of the food sector and the society to detect, respond to and prevent bio-threats, data generated from the EU FP7 project "Securing the spices and herbs commodity chains in Europe against deliberate, accidental or natural biological and chemical contamination" (SPICED) are presented thematically including: general considerations, issues of sampling, chemical and microbial contamination, and food chain and societal aspects. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.

Szekacs A.,Agro Environmental Research Institute
Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics | Year: 2017

Bioeconomy solutions potentially reduce the utilization demand of natural resources, and therefore, represent steps towards circular economy, but are not per se equivalent to sustainability. Thus, production may remain to be achieved against losses in natural resources or at other environmental costs, and materials produced by bioeconomy are not necessarily biodegradable. As a consequence, the assumption that emerging bioeconomy by itself provides an environmentally sustainable economy is not justified, as technologies do not necessarily become sustainable merely through their conversion to using renewable resources for their production. A source of the above assumption is that the utility of bioeconomy is mostly assessed in interaction between technology developers and economists, resulting in biased assessment with private commercial technology benefits being included, but environmental costs, especially longer term ones, not being sufficiently considered in the economic models. A possible solution to this conceptual contradiction may come from bioethics, as a strong concept in environmental ethics is that no technological intervention can be imposed on nature beyond its receptive capacity. To achieve a better balanced analysis of bioeconomy, environmental and ecological, as well as non-economic social aspects, need to be included in the overall assessment. © 2017 The Author(s)

Lakner Z.,Szent Istvan University | Szabo E.,Food Science Research Institute | Szucs V.,Food Science Research Institute | Szekacs A.,Agro Environmental Research Institute
Food Control | Year: 2016

The spice trade network is one of the oldest and substantially vulnerable systems of the agri-food supply chains. Based on statistical analysis of spice paprika (chilli red pepper) and black pepper trade flows within the EU member states, stochastic simulation models have been developed for prognosis of the proliferation of contaminated products between the member states as a function of the source-state of the contaminated products. Results highlight the rapidity of proliferation, and offer a simple, but robust tool for prediction of contamination patterns among states, serving the formation of a targeted defence strategy and policy Traditional geostatistical methods (e.g. Morens' I of spatial autocorrelation) in most cases are not suitable to predict the geographic distribution of contaminated products among countries, due to complexity and inter-connectedness of the European spice network. The pattern of proliferation of contaminated products between member states was analysed using a dyadic network of relational data, applying additive and multiplicative effects model. Results of analysis prove the importance of long-distance, international trade in distribution of contaminated products. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.

PubMed | Agro Environmental Research Institute, MicroVacuum Ltd. and Food Science Research Institute
Type: | Journal: Food chemistry | Year: 2016

Optical waveguide lightmode spectroscopy (OWLS) technique has been applied to label-free detection of aflatoxin B1 in a competitive immunoassay format, with the aim to compare the analytical goodness of the developed OWLS immunosenor with HPLC and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) methods for the detection of aflatoxin in spice paprika matrix. We have also assessed applicability of the QuEChERS method prior to ELISA measurements, and the results were compared to those obtained by traditional solvent extraction followed by immunoaffinity clean-up. The AFB1 content of sixty commercial spice paprika samples from different countries were measured with the developed and optimized OWLS immunosensor. Comparing the results from the indirect immunosensor to that obtained by HPLC or ELISA provided excellent correlation (with regression coefficients above 0.94) indicating that the competitive OWLS immunosensor has a potential for quick determination of aflatoxin B1 in paprika samples.

Szekacs A.,Agro Environmental Research Institute | Mortl M.,Agro Environmental Research Institute | Darvas B.,Agro Environmental Research Institute
Journal of Chemistry | Year: 2015

Over 2000 surface, ground and raw drinking water samples have been analyzed in the frame of different monitoring projects in Hungary and watercourses in neighboring countries between 1990 and 2015. Effects of pesticide contamination on ecological farming and drinking water supply have been assessed. Main water pollutant ingredients of agricultural origin in Hungary are herbicides related to maize production. After EU pesticide re-registration, diazinon, atrazine, and trifluralin gradually disappeared as contaminants. High levels of water soluble pollutants (e.g., acetochlor) in surface water result in temporarily enhanced levels in raw drinking water as well. Extreme levels observed for herbicide residues were of agrochemical industrial origin. © 2015 András Székács et al.

PubMed | Agro Environmental Research Institute, University of Caen Lower Normandy and CRIIGEN
Type: Journal Article | Journal: International journal of environmental research and public health | Year: 2016

Pesticide formulations contain declared active ingredients and co-formulants presented as inert and confidential compounds. We tested the endocrine disruption of co-formulants in six glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH), the most used pesticides worldwide. All co-formulants and formulations were comparably cytotoxic well below the agricultural dilution of 1% (18-2000 times for co-formulants, 8-141 times for formulations), and not the declared active ingredient glyphosate (G) alone. The endocrine-disrupting effects of all these compounds were measured on aromatase activity, a key enzyme in the balance of sex hormones, below the toxicity threshold. Aromatase activity was decreased both by the co-formulants alone (polyethoxylated tallow amine-POEA and alkyl polyglucoside-APG) and by the formulations, from concentrations 800 times lower than the agricultural dilutions; while G exerted an effect only at 1/3 of the agricultural dilution. It was demonstrated for the first time that endocrine disruption by GBH could not only be due to the declared active ingredient but also to co-formulants. These results could explain numerous in vivo results with GBHs not seen with G alone; moreover, they challenge the relevance of the acceptable daily intake (ADI) value for GBHs exposures, currently calculated from toxicity tests of the declared active ingredient alone.

PubMed | Balaton Limnological Research Institute, Agro Environmental Research Institute and The National Pedagogical University
Type: | Journal: Aquatic toxicology (Amsterdam, Netherlands) | Year: 2015

Neonicotinoids are highly potent and selective systemic insecticides, but their widespread use also has a growing impact on non-target animals and contaminates the environment, including surface waters. We tested the neonicotinoid insecticides commercially available in Hungary (acetamiprid, Mospilan; imidacloprid, Kohinor; thiamethoxam, Actara; clothianidin, Apacs; thiacloprid, Calypso) on cholinergic synapses that exist between the VD4 and RPeD1 neurons in the central nervous system of the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis. In the concentration range used (0.01-1 mg/ml), neither chemical acted as an acetylcholine (ACh) agonist; instead, both displayed antagonist activity, inhibiting the cholinergic excitatory components of the VD4-RPeD1 connection. Thiacloprid (0.01 mg/ml) blocked almost 90% of excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs), while the less effective thiamethoxam (0.1 mg/ml) reduced the synaptic responses by about 15%. The ACh-evoked membrane responses of the RPeD1 neuron were similarly inhibited by the neonicotinoids, confirming that the same ACh receptor (AChR) target was involved. We conclude that neonicotinoids act on nicotinergic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in the snail CNS. This has been established previously in the insect CNS; however, our data indicate differences in the background mechanism or the nAChR binding site in the snail. Here, we provide the first results concerning neonicotinoid-related toxic effects on the neuronal connections in the molluscan nervous system. Aquatic animals, including molluscs, are at direct risk while facing contaminated surface waters, and snails may provide a suitable model for further studies of the behavioral/neuronal consequences of intoxication by neonicotinoids.

PubMed | Agro Environmental Research Institute, Szent Istvan University and Semmelweis University
Type: | Journal: Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity | Year: 2016

Objectives. The relationship among matriptase function, cellular redox status, and maintenance of intestinal barrier integrity has not been established yet. The aim of this study is to reveal if the crosstalk between matriptase activators and intestinal epithelial monolayers can lead to perturbations in physiological redox regulation in vitro. Methods. The effects of suramin and sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) were tested on viability of intestinal porcine epithelial IPEC-J2 cells using MTS assay. Measurements of transepithelial electrical resistance (TER) were performed to determine changes in barrier integrity of cell monolayers. Amplex Red assay was used to monitor extracellular hydrogen peroxide production. Occludin distribution pattern was detected prior to and after matriptase activation using immunofluorescent staining technique. Results. TER reduction was observed in suramin-treated IPEC-J2 cell monolayers, which could be attributed to cell cytotoxic properties of 48hr 50M suramin administration. In contrast, S1P treatment increased TER significantly and elevated occludin accumulation in tight junctions. It was also found that extracellular hydrogen peroxide levels were maintained in IPEC-J2 cells exposed to matriptase activators. Discussion. S1P administration not accompanied by redox imbalance might be one of the key strategies in the improvement of barrier function and consequently in the therapy of intestinal inflammations.

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