Leif Sundheim

Potential Speaker for plant science 2017-Leif Sundheim

Title: Risk assessment of dietary exposure to deoxynivalenol in different age groups in Norway

Leif Sundheim

Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, Norway


Dr. Leif Sundheim did his PhD in Plant Pathology at the University of  Minnesota, USA. He is professor emeritus in Plant Pathology at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and worked as Research Director for Division of Plant Health at the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research. He is the member of the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety since its establishment in 2004 and was Chairman of the Plant Health Panel and Member of the Scientific Steering Committee during seven years. He has research experience on foliar plant diseases, soilborne plant disease, biological control of plant pathogens, mycotoxins.


The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety has assessed the risk for adverse effects of deoxynivalenol (DON) in different human age groups. DON is the most prevalent mycotoxin in Norwegian cereals, and DON is present in virtually all samples of cereal grain and cereal flour, bran, oat flakes and other cereal based food products. In years with low and high mean concentration of DON in the flour the exposure to DON was calculated for different age groups, based on occurrence and consumption data. The estimated mean and high (95-percentile) exposure to DON, respectively, were in the range of, or exceeded the TDI by up to 2 times in 1-year-old infants and 2-year-old children. In years with high mean DON concentration the high (95-percentile) exposure exceeded the TDI up to 3.5 times for 1-, 2-, 4- and 9-year old children. Although the TDI is not a threshold for toxicity, the assessment concluded that exceeding the TDI in infants and children is of health concern. The estimated dietary intakes of DON in adolescence and adult populations are equal to or below the TDI and not of health concern. Acute exposure to DON is not of concern in any of the age groups.