Deoxynivalenol biomarkers in the urine of UK vegetarians

Liz Wells, Laura Hardie, Courtney Williams, Kay White, Yunru Liu, Barbara De Santis, Francesca Debegnach, Georgio Moretti, Stephanie Greetham, Carlo Brera, Maria Papageorgiou, Natalie J. Thatcher, Alan Rigby, Stephen Atkin, Thozhukat Sathyapalan

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Deoxynivalenol (DON) is produced by Fusarium graminearum and is one of the most commonly occurring trichothecenes. Vegetarians are alleged to be a high-risk group for DON exposure due to high intakes of cereals susceptible to the growth of the mycotoxin. This study provides the levels of DON and de-epoxi Deoxynivalenol (DOM-1) in urine analysed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) in UK vegetarians. Over two consecutive days, morning urine samples were collected from 32 vegetarians and 31 UK adult volunteers, and associated food consumption 24 h prior to the sample was recorded. Statistically significant differences between the weight of the UK adults and vegetarians (t = 3.15. df = 61, p ≤ 0.005 two-tailed) were observed. The mean levels of DON in urine for adults on day 1 was 3.05 ng free DON/mg creatinine, and on day 2 was 2.98 ng free DON/mg creatinine. Even though high mean levels were observed, most adults were within the tolerable daily intake. However, for vegetarians, the mean level of urinary DON on day 1 was 6.69 ng free DON/mg creatinine, and on day 2 was 3.42 ng free DON/mg creatinine. These levels equate to up to 32% of vegetarians exceeding recommended tolerable daily intakes (TDI) of exposure (1 µg/kg b.w./day).

Original languageEnglish
Article number196
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017



  • Deoxynivalenol
  • Mycotoxins
  • Vegetarians
  • Vomitoxin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this

Wells, L., Hardie, L., Williams, C., White, K., Liu, Y., De Santis, B., Debegnach, F., Moretti, G., Greetham, S., Brera, C., Papageorgiou, M., Thatcher, N. J., Rigby, A., Atkin, S., & Sathyapalan, T. (2017). Deoxynivalenol biomarkers in the urine of UK vegetarians. Toxins, 9(7), [196].