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Ochratoxins are a group of mycotoxins produced by some Aspergillus species (mainly A. ochraceus, but also by 33% of A. niger industrial strains) and some Penicillium species, especially P. verrucosum and P. carbonarius . Ochratoxin A is the most prevalent and relevant fungal toxin of this group, while ochratoxins B and C are of lesser importance.
Ochratoxin A is known to occur in commodities such as cereals, coffee, dried fruit and red wine. It is possibly a human carcinogen and is of special interest as it can be accumulated in the meat of animals. Thus meat and meat products can be contaminated with this toxin. Exposure to ochratoxins through diet can cause acute toxicity in mammalian kidneys, and may be carcinogenic.