Deoxynivalenol (DON), the mycotoxin produced mainly by Fusarium graminearum and found in contaminated cereal-based foodstuff, has been consistently detected in body fluids in adults. Available data in children and adolescents are scarce. This study assessed urinary DON concentrations in children aged 3–9 years (n = 40) and adolescents aged 10–17 years (n = 39) in the UK. Morning urine samples were collected over two consecutive days and analysed for free DON (un-metabolised form), DON-glucuronides (DON-GlcA), deepoxy deoxynivalenol (DOM-1), and total DON (sum of free DON, DON-GlcA, and DOM-1). Total DON was detected in the urine of >95% of children and adolescents on both days. Mean total DON concentrations (ng/mg creatinine) were 41.6 and 21.0 for children and adolescents, respectively. The greatest total DON levels were obtained in female children on both days (214 and 219 ng/mg creatinine on days 1 and 2, respectively). Free DON and DON-GlcA were detected in most urine specimens, whereas DOM-1 was not present in any sample. Estimation of dietary DON exposure suggested that 33–63% of children and 5–46% of adolescents exceeded current guidance regarding the maximum provisional tolerable daily intake (PMTDI) for DON. Although moderate mean urinary DON concentrations were shown, the high detection frequency of urinary DON, the maximum biomarker concentrations, and estimated dietary DON exposure are concerning.
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