The mycotoxin patulin takes its name from the fungus from which it was firstly isolated: Penicillium patulum.4 To date there are other known Penicillium and Aspergillus strains that are able to produce patulin like P. crustosum, P. expansum, P. roqueforti, etc.3, 4, 8 These fungi are known to produce other mycotoxins like citrinin, cyclopiazonic acid, ochratoxin A, roquefortine C, etc.3, 5, 7 Patulin is mainly associated with damaged and rotting fruits.3, 4 This mycotoxin is commonly found in apples when affected by ‘brown rot’ but also in pears, peaches, grapes, apricots, olives and low acid fruit juices. Patulin is typically not found on undamaged fruits.4 Patulin can also occur in silage material. Chemically patulin is a cyclic compound, soluble in water and alcohols and it loses its biological activity in alkaline conditions.
Patulin was believed to be carcinogenic, although recent studies invalidated this option.3 This mycotoxin exerts nephrotoxic (kidney) and immunotoxic effects. Patulin produces gastrointestinal symptoms like gastric ulcers, intestinal hemorrhages, lesions in the duodenum and alteration of intestinal barrier function.3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
No regulation for patulin in feed exists in the EU and in the USA.1, 2