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ABSTRACT

The mycotoxin, patulin (4-hydroxy-4H-furo [3, 2c] pyran-2[6H]-one), is produced by a number of fungi common to fruit- and vegetable-based products, most notably apples. Despite patulin's original discovery as an antibiotic, it has come under heavy scrutiny for its potential negative health effects. Studies investigating these health effects have proved inconclusive, but there is little doubt as to the potential danger inherent in the contamination of food products by patulin. The danger posed by patulin necessitates its control and removal from foods products, creating a demand for handling and processing techniques capable of doing so, preferably at low cost to industry. With this being the case, much research has been devoted to understanding the basic chemical and biological nature of patulin, as well as its interaction within foods and food production. While past resarch has elucidated a great deal, patulin contamination continues to be a challenge for athe food industry. Here, we review in depth the past research on patulin with an emphasis upon its influence within the food industry, including its regulation, health effects, biosynthesis, detection, quantification, distribution within foods, and control, during the various stages of apple juice production. Finally, key areas where future patulin research should focus to best control the patulin contamination problem within the food industry are addressed.