Assessment of the exposure to ochratoxin A in the province of Lleida, Spain
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Exposure to ochratoxin A (OTA) of 279 blood donors of nine localities of the province of Lleida (Spain) was assessed. OTA levels were detected in the blood plasma of the participants by HPLC-fluorescence detection with previous clean-up of the samples by immunoaffinity columns. Limit of detection was 0.075 ng/ mL. Participants answered a questionnaire on consumption frequency of foods possibly contaminated with OTA. Foodstuffs were grouped: cereals and derived products, dried fruits and derived products, cacao and derived products, grape juice, wine, beer and coffee. The range of positive samples was 0.11–8.68 ng/mL and the median was 0.54 ng/mL. No differences were found between OTA plasma levels in men and women, neither in the different localities, but there were significant differences among three age groups. Highest consumed foods were cereals and derived products, followed by beer and wine. No correlation was found between food consumption and OTA plasma levels. OTA daily intake was estimated based on OTA plasma concentrations and on the food consumption data combined with food contamination data taken from the literature. Mean values were 1.69 and 1.96 ng/kg body weight/day, respectively. These values are below the latest proposed tolerable daily intake of 14 ng/kg body weight/day.