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A global evaluation of the impact of mycotoxins contaminants on food safety

 

Glossary over A global evaluation of the impact of mycotoxins contaminants on food safety

Acute exposure

Contact with a substance that occurs once or for only a short time (up to 14 days [for humans]). (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Adverse health effect

A change in body function or cell structure that might lead to disease or health problems. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Aflatoxin

Aflatoxins are potent toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic, immunosuppressive substances that can be found on poorly stored grains and nuts.

They are produced as secondary metabolites by certain types of molds (Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus).

Food contaminated with aflatoxins can affect both humans and animals and lead to liver cancer. (Source: GreenFacts)

Antagonistic effect

A biologic response to exposure to multiple substances that is less than would be expected if the known effects of the individual substances were added together. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Bacteria

Bacteria are a major group of micro-organisms that live in soil, water, plants, organic matter, or the bodies of animals or people. They are microscopic and mostly unicellular, with a relatively simple cell structure.

Some bacteria cause diseases such as tetanus, typhoid fever, pneumonia, syphilis, cholera, and tuberculosis.

Bacteria play a role in the decomposition of organic matter and other chemical processes. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Blood serum

Clear, watery fluid of the blood that separates when blood clots. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Cancer

Any one of a group of diseases that occur when cells in the body become abnormal and have the potential to spread and establish growth in nearby tissues and other parts of the body (malignancy). (Source: GreenFacts )

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Cancer risk

A theoretical risk for getting cancer if exposed to a substance every day for 70 years (a lifetime exposure). The true risk might be lower. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

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Carcinogen

A substance, factor or situation that causes or induces cancer. (Source: GreenFacts )

Cell

The basic subunit of any living organism; the simplest unit that can exist as an independent living system. There are many different types of cells in complex organisms such as humans, each with specific characteristics. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Chronic exposure

Contact with a substance that occurs over a long time (more than 1 year [for humans]). (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Contaminant(s)

A substance that is either present in an environment where it does not belong or is present at levels that might cause harmful effects to humans or the environment. (Source: GreenFacts)

Digestive tract

The digestive tract is the system of organs which takes in food, digests it to extract energy and nutrients and expels remaining waste. It includes the mouth, salivary glands, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, large intestine, and rectum.

After food is chewed and swallowed, the digestive juices released by the pancreas and stomach break it down into substances that are readily absorbed through the small intestine. Material that is not taken up by the body collects in the large intestine, forming faecal matter that is then excreted through the anus. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Enzyme(s)

A protein that encourages a biochemical reaction, usually speeding it up. Organisms could not function if they had no enzymes. (Source: NHGRI NHGRI Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms  )

Epidemiological studies

Studies on human populations, which attempt to link human health effects (e.g. cancer) to a cause (e.g. exposure to a specific chemical). (Source: GreenFacts)

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Fungi

Any of a group of plant-like microorganisms that include molds, mildews, mushrooms and yeast.

Fungi lack chlorophyll and use living or dead organisms as food by breaking them down and then absorbing the substances into their cells. Many fungi reproduce by disseminating spores which are transported by air and await proper conditions of moisture and temperature to germinate, grow and reproduce. (Source: GreenFacts )

Genetic Engineering

The technique of removing, modifying, or adding genes to a DNA molecule [of an organism] in order to change the information it contains. By changing this information, genetic engineering changes the type or amount of proteins an organism is capable of producing, thus enabling it to make new substances or perform new functions. (Source: US Department of Agriculture, Glossary of Biotechnology terms  )

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Genomics

The study of genes and their function. (Source: US EPA Computational Toxicology Research Glossary  )

Glucose

Glucose is naturally occurring sugar and a primary source of energy for living organisms, including humans. Its chemical formula is C6H12O6. (Source: GreenFacts)

Glutathione

Glutathione is a molecule consisting of 3 amino acids that is produced in the liver. In addition to assuring the smooth functioning of metabolic processes, it has a protective role in the cells of humans and of most animal and plant. Glutathione is an important antioxidant, meaning that it can bind to toxic substances and lead to their excretion from the body through urine or bile. (Source: GreenFacts)

Immune system

The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend the body against attacks by “foreign” invaders. (Source: NIAID Immune System   )

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In vitro

In an artificial environment outside a living organism or body. For example, some toxicity testing is done on cell cultures or slices of tissue grown in the laboratory, rather than on a living animal. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Infection

It is the growth of a parasite within the human body that causes illness. It can be a virus, a bacteria, a fungus or a protozoa. (Source: GreenFacts )

Liver

The liver is a big reddish-brow organ lying beneath the diaphragm on the right side. The liver is made up for a great part of liver cells which absorb nutrients and detoxify and remove harmful substances from the blood such as drugs and alcohol. The liver has many other vital functions and there is currently no way to compensate for the absence of liver.

Other liver functions include:

  • controlling levels of fats, amino acids and glucose in the blood
  • fighting infections in the body, particularly infections arising in the bowel.
  • manufacturing bile, a kind of digestive juice which aids in the digestion of fats
  • storing iron, certain vitamins and other essential chemicals
  • breaking down food and turning it into energy
  • manufacturing, breaking down and regulating numerous hormones
  • making enzymes and proteins which are responsible for most chemical reactions in the body, for example those involved in blood clotting and repair of damaged tissues.
Malnutrition

A state of bad nourishment.

Malnutrition refers both to undernutrition and overnutrition, as well as to conditions arising from dietary imbalances leading to diet-related noncommunicable diseases. (Source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment  Glossary )

Metabolism

The conversion or breakdown of a substance from one form to another by an enzyme. (Source: GreenFacts, based on ATSDR Glossary of Terms )

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Metabolite

A substance that is the product of biological changes to a chemical. (Source: US EPA Glossary  )

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Micro-organism

Any living organism that is too small to be seen by the naked eye such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, single-celled algae, and many types of fungi. (Source: GreenFacts)

Mould

Parasitic, microscopic fungi (like Penicillin) with spores that float in the air like pollen. Mold is a common trigger for allergies and can be found in damp areas, such as the basement or bathroom, as well as in the outdoor environment in grass, leaf piles, hay, mulch or under mushrooms. (Source: WebMD Asthma Glossary of Terms  )

Mutagen

A substance or physical agent that causes mutations, i.e. permanently alters the DNA of a cell. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Pregnancy outcomes

Results of conception and ensuing pregnancy, such as sex ratio, birth weight, spontaneous abortion, congenital malformations, lower birth weight, preterm delivery or stillbirth. (Source: GreenFacts)

Protein

A large molecule composed of one or more chains of amino acids in a specific order, formed according to genetic information.

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Proteomics

The study of the structure and function of proteins, including the way they work and interact with each other inside cells. (Source: JNCI Cancer Spectrum;  Cancer Dictionary  )

Risk assessment

A scientifically based process consisting of four steps:

  • hazard identification,
  • hazard characterization,
  • exposure assessment and
  • risk characterization
(Source:   Official Journal of the European Communities 2002 L 31 )

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Susceptibility

The likelihood of producing a significantly larger-than-average response to a specified exposure to a substance.

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Sustainability

A characteristic or state whereby the needs of the present and local population can be met without compromising the ability of future generations or populations in other locations to meet their needs.

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Synergy

When the combined effect of several forces operating is greater than the sum of the separate effects of the forces. (Source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment  Glossary )

Temperate zone

The part of the Earth's surface between the Arctic Circle and the Tropic of Cancer or between the Antarctic Circle and the Tropic of Capricorn; characterized by temperate climate [i.e. mild, moderate temperature; neither hot nor cold]. (Source: WordNet Temperate zone )

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Tissue

A group of cells joined to perform a set of functions. (Source: GreenFacts)

Toxicology

The study of the harmful effects of substances on humans or animals. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Toxin

A toxicant produced by a living organism. (Source: IPCS )

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Transgene

A gene from one [organism] that has been incorporated into the genome of another organism.

Often refers to a gene that has been introduced into a multicellular organism. (Source: GreenFacts, based on FAO Glossary of biotechnology & genetic engineering )

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Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium, most commonly Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It affects tissues in the human body, mainly the lungs (pulmonary tuberculosis). It causes small tumors that destroy the tissue.

Symptoms include cough, fatigue, weight loss, difficulty breathing, and fever. (Source: GreenFacts)

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World Health Organization

"The World Health Organization  (WHO) is the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations’ system. WHO experts produce health guidelines and standards, and help countries to address public health issues. WHO also supports and promotes health research. Through WHO, governments can jointly tackle global health problems and improve people’s well-being.

193 countries and two associate members are WHO’s membership. They meet every year at the World Health Assembly in Geneva to set policy for the Organization, approve the Organization’s budget, and every five years, to appoint the Director-General. Their work is supported by the 34-member Executive Board, which is elected by the Health Assembly. Six regional committees focus on health matters of a regional nature."

WHO's scientific publications are widely recognized as a reference source.

The WHO has a number of regional offices which address the specific issues of those regions.

WHO World Regional Offices
  WHO African Region  (46 countries)
  WHO European Region  (53 countries)
  WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region  (21 countries)
  WHO Region of the Americas  (35 countries)
  WHO South-East Asia Region  (11 countries)
  WHO Western Pacific Region  (27 countries)
Yeast

Single-celled micro-organism that converts its food (sugar or starch) into alcohol and carbon dioxide through fermentation.

Yeast are used for making beer, wine, cheese and some breads. When making bread, the carbon dioxide produced by yeast makes the dough rise.

Yeast needs sugar or starch and a warm environment in order to grow. (Source: GreenFacts, based on WGBY Glossary )


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