04 Jul 2023 EVENT

Imptox research on Microcycstin-LR toxin in basil will be presented at the upcoming IAFP conference in Toronto

Research led by Imptox scientists Andreja Rajkovic at UGent and Mirjana Andjelkovic at Sciensano will be presented at this year’s Annual Meeting of the International Association for Food Protection.


The International Association for Food Protection organizes an Annual Meeting, offering participants valuable insights into present and upcoming food safety concerns, cutting-edge scientific advancements, and a chance to connect with numerous experts in the field from across the world. With locations rotating throughout North America, this conference has evolved into an important global event focused on food safety. IAFP 2023 is scheduled to take place from July 16 – 19, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto.


In this inspiring setting, Imptox research on the accumulation and depuration potential and natural occurrence of microcystin-LR toxin in basil will be presented by Wannes Hugo R. Van Hassel from Sciensano on July 17th at 9.15 am. Microcystin-LR (MC-LR) is a potent toxin generated by cyanobacteria, known for its exceptional toxicity among various microcystin variants. Cyanobacteria, which are photosynthetic organisms found in aquatic environments, bear a resemblance to algae but differ in their cellular structure as they are not eukaryotic. MC-LR can enter our food chain via seafood that has been exposed to MC-LR polluted water or via crops and plants that have been irrigated with water containing MC-LR.


In their study, the Belgium-based researchers exposed different basil plants collected from different markets to varying doses of MC-LR in the lab for seven days. After that, they transferred the plants to an uncontaminated solution for another seven days to assess the depuration process. Their results show “the potential of basil to accumulate MC-LR from irrigation water, potentially resulting in human exposure to high levels of toxin. For the first time in Belgium, MC-LR was also detected in a vegetable from the market, showing human exposure through vegetables is already a reality.” Click here to find out more about their study and to read the abstract of their talk.


In the Imptox project, we are trying to understand what happens when MC-LR co-occurs with nanoplastics. We do know that nanoplastics seem to be stimulating MC-LR synthesis and release from its producing cyanobacteria, but there is no clarity yet as to what exactly happens when they interact. Click here to learn more about the research of Prof. Rajkovic and his team on MC-LR and nanoplastics and stay tuned for future updates on this website and on Imptox social media (FacebookLinkedInTwitter & Instagram).