Article

The African Fusarium/maize disease.

Food, Environment & Health Research Group, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, P.O. Box 17011, Doornfontein, 2028, Gauteng, South Africa, .
Mycotoxin Research 03/2009; 25(1):29-39. DOI: 10.1007/s12550-008-0005-8
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT There is a general but rather vague feeling that the use of maize (corn) as a staple foodstuff by black rural Africans is somehow a factor in, or is linked to, chronic disease found in these populations. An attempt is made in this review to consider the evidence for this connection and to identify what is actually the root of the problem. The main thrust of the argument to explain this perception is that maize is routinely contaminated with fungi and of these Fusarium verticillioides is found in maize throughout the world. Evidence is presented to this effect and, further, of the mycotoxins found in maize, the fumonisins are the most common and at the highest levels. Various animal chronic diseases arising from the consumption of contaminated maize are reviewed and possible human conditions listed, in some cases related to the known animal ones. A brief overview of the complicated cellular mechanisms of fumonisin B1 is given and it is concluded that the prime suspect in what might be called "the maize disease" can be attributed to the ingestion of this mycotoxin, sometimes in combination with other synergist mycotoxins and other disease factors, such as smoking and drinking.

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    • "In African rural areas, it has been shown that all these possibilities occur and that certain processing practices may exacerbate the situation, e.g. the brewing of beverages from contaminated cereals (Shephard et al. 2005). A major contributor to this situation is the wide propagation of maize (corn) in Sub-Saharan Africa as a cereal staple (Dutton 2009), which is a New World crop (McCann 2005) and in several ways unsuited to African conditions and practices. In rural South Africa, e.g. "
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    • "In African rural areas, it has been shown that all these possibilities occur and that certain processing practices may exacerbate the situation, e.g. the brewing of beverages from contaminated cereals (Shephard et al. 2005). A major contributor to this situation is the wide propagation of maize (corn) in Sub-Saharan Africa as a cereal staple (Dutton 2009), which is a New World crop (McCann 2005) and in several ways unsuited to African conditions and practices. In rural South Africa, e.g. "
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    ABSTRACT: Fusarium species (spp.) and fumonisin B(1) (FB(1)) contaminations were monitored in maize and porridge consumed by a rural population of Limpopo Province, South Africa. Faecal samples were also analysed for FB(1) as a means of estimating the degree of dietary exposure to this mycotoxin. In total, 142 samples of maize (n = 54), porridge (47) and faeces (41) were screened for Fusarium spp. using a serial dilution technique followed by DNA sequencing, while FB(1) was further screened and quantified by thin-layer chromatography (TLC) and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), respectively. At least four species of Fusarium were identified, of which F. verticillioides was the most prevalent in all three sample types analysed. The contamination levels of FB(1) were significantly higher in 87% of maize sampled (range = 101-53,863 µg kg(-1)) as compared with porridge (74% incidence rate; range = 0.2-20 µg kg(-1)) and faecal samples (100% incidence rate; range = 0.3-464 µg kg(-1)). Thus, it can be deduced that the level of human exposure to FB(1) via the consumption of maize was high as several samples contained levels exceeding 1000 µg kg(-1), which was strongly supported by the levels found in faecal samples. Further data revealed that a high proportion of FB(1) is destroyed or removed by processing maize into porridge. As maize porridge is consumed as a staple, the low levels found provide a means to limit exposure to FB(1). Levels of FB(1) found in the faeces which were higher indicate that other foods contaminated with the toxin are also consumed.
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    ABSTRACT: Lymphocytes cell obtained from healthy human donors and pigs were exposed to fumonisin B1 (FB1) and ochratoxin A (OTA), which have been found to be immunosuppressive, carcinogenic and mutagenic, to ascertain their single and combined cytotoxic effects with time and to assess the suitability of animal lymphocytes as test agents in comparison to human cells. The main objectives of this work were to assess the use of animal lymphocytes, particularly pig lymphocytes, for their use in the Methyl Thiazol Tetrazolium (MTT) cytotoxicity test, making them more accessible to animal research-based institutes in comparison to human lymphocytes previously used, and to study the cytotoxic and synergism or antagonistic effects of FB1 and OTA. The MTT assay, which measures cell viability and proliferation based on reduction of MTT to a blue dye, also used the addition of phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) to stimulate the blood cells. The results showed a progressive decrease in lymphocytes viability with time of exposure to the toxins. It was also noted that FB1, as compared to OTA, had a lower cytotoxicity on both human and pig lymphocytes cells. In addition, when the two mycotoxins were combined, a synergistic decrease of cell viability in both human and pig lymphocytes was observed, with pig lymphocytes showing a greater sensitivity. This study has shown that the MTT assay can be used for the determination of cytotoxicity of mycotoxins using animal, and in particular pig, lymphocytes, which eliminates the use of human donors and other cell cultures.
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