Research led by Professor Yves François Pouchus from the University of Nantes in France recommends regular and consistent testing of all shellfish for mycotoxins produced by strains of Penicillium fungus in the Sept. 6, 2013, edition of the Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM) journal Letters in Applied Microbiology.
Penicillium fungi have a propensity to infect bivalve mollusks that are common seafood including clams, oysters, scallops, and mussels.
The researchers found that Penicillium fungi actually grow faster and more readily and produce more toxins in mussel tissue inside the mussel shell than the fungi do cultured on agar plates or on agar plates containing mussel tissue.
The mycotoxins produced by Penicillium fungi in seafood do not present a danger of immediate seafood poisoning. The mycotoxins have been connected with long term damage to DNA that has been shown to lead to cancer. Similar carcinogenic potential has been established in several Penicillium fungi mycotoxins.
The researchers recommend that mycotoxin levels be measured frequently and regularly in all shellfish that are destined to become human or animal food to minimize the impact that the fungal infection can have on the rate of development of cancer.
The regimen of regular testing is recommended for all shell fishing operations across the globe.