Mycotoxin problem in Africa: Current status, implications to food safety and health and possible management strategies
ABSTRACT Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites of fungal origin and contaminate agricultural commodities before or under post-harvest conditions. They are mainly produced by fungi in the Aspergillus, Penicillium and Fusarium genera. When ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin, mycotoxins will cause lowered performance, sickness or death on humans and animals. Factors that contribute to mycotoxin contamination of food and feed in Africa include environmental, socio-economic and food production. Environmental conditions especially high humidity and temperatures favour fungal proliferation resulting in contamination of food and feed. The socio-economic status of majority of inhabitants of sub-Saharan Africa predisposes them to consumption of mycotoxin contaminated products either directly or at various points in the food chain. The resulting implications include immuno-suppression, impaired growth, various cancers and death depending on the type, period and amount of exposure. A synergistic effect between mycotoxin exposure and some important diseases in the continent such as malaria, kwashiorkor and HIV/AIDS have been suggested. Mycotoxin concerns have grown during the last few decades because of their implications to human and animal health, productivity, economics of their management and trade. This has led to development of maximum tolerated limits for mycotoxins in various countries. Even with the standards in place, the greatest recorded fatal mycotoxin-poisoning outbreak caused by contamination of maize with aflatoxins occurred in Africa in 2004. Pre-harvest practices; time of harvesting; handling of produce during harvesting; moisture levels at harvesting, transportation, marketing and processing; insect damage all contribute to mycotoxin contamination. Possible intervention strategies include good agricultural practices such as early harvesting, proper drying, sanitation, proper storage and insect management among others. Other possible interventions include biological control, chemical control, decontamination, breeding for resistance as well as surveillance and awareness creation. There is need for efficient, cost-effective sampling and analytical methods that can be used for detection analysis of mycotoxins in developing countries.
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ABSTRACT: Aflatoxin is a potent carcinogen produced by Aspergillus flavus, which frequently contaminates maize (Zea mays L.) in the field between 40 • north and 40 • south latitudes. A mechanistic model to predict risk of pre-harvest contamination could assist in management of this very harmful mycotoxin. In this study we describe an aflatoxin risk prediction model which is integrated with the Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM) modelling framework. The model computes a temperature function for A. flavus growth and aflatoxin production using a set of three cardinal temperatures determined in the laboratory using culture medium and intact grains. These cardinal temperatures were 11.5 • C as base, 32.5 • C as optimum and 42.5 • C as maximum. The model used a low (≤0.2) crop water supply to demand ratio—an index of drought during the grain filling stage to simulate maize crop's susceptibility to A. flavus growth and aflatoxin production. When this low threshold of the index was reached the model converted the temperature function into an aflatoxin risk index (ARI) to represent the risk of aflatoxin contamination. The model was applied to simulate ARI for two commercial maize hybrids, H513 and H614D, grown in five multi-location field trials in Kenya using site specific agronomy, weather and soil parameters. The observed mean aflatoxin contamination in these trials varied from <1 to 7143 ppb. ARI simulated by the model explained 99% of the variation (p ≤ 0.001) in a linear relationship with the mean observed aflatoxin contamination. The strong relationship between ARI and aflatoxin contamination suggests that the model could be applied to map risk prone areas and to monitor in-season risk for genotypes and soils parameterized for APSIM.Field Crops Research 07/2015; 178:91-99. DOI:10.1016/j.fcr.2015.03.024 · 2.61 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) and fumonisin B1 (FB1) are mycotoxins widely found as cereal contaminants and their co-occurrence in corn has been associated with a high incidence of liver cancer. Both toxins are immunotoxic, with AFB1 being a procarcinogen, and its bioactivation through specific cytochrome P450 (Cyp) enzymes, such as Cyp1A, being a requirement for hepatocarcinogenic and toxic activities. This study evaluated the effects of these mycotoxins, alone or combined, on activation and expression of Cyp1A and its transcription factor aryl hydrocarbon receptor (Ahr) in hepatoma cell line H4IIE and spleen mononuclear cells of rats. The results demonstrate that in H4IIE cells, AFB1 induced an increase in Cyp1A activity and cyp1A transcription, associated with an enhanced Ahr activity, which suggests that this toxin can act as an Ahr agonist. Moreover, FB1 caused a small rise in Cyp1A activity and cyp1A expression. Similarly in spleen cells, AFB1 and FB1 induced overexpression of cyp1A and ahr genes. This work shows that the response potency was significantly higher for the mixture, indicating the existence of an interaction between both toxins. This study proposes the Ahr pathway activation as a toxicity mechanism of AFB1 and FB1, and highlights that FB1 may increase AFB1 bioactivation. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.Food and Chemical Toxicology 11/2014; 75C:104-111. DOI:10.1016/j.fct.2014.10.030 · 2.90 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Abstract Fusarium toxins with reference to fumonisin B1 (FB1) have long been regarded as contaminants of maize and maize-based related products. However, when consumed can cause intoxication, especially in humans. Therefore, effective quantitative methods for assessing dietary exposure of this toxic fungal metabolite are required. The objective of this investigation was to evaluate the effect on the use of bio-wipe kit, which is a faecal material collection kit to detect the presence of FB1. Faecal materials were collected from a rural farming community in Gauteng Province, South Africa. In total, 200 samples of faecal material were analysed for Fusarium species using a serial dilution method, while FB1 was further analysed and quantified by reversed-phase thin layer chromatography (TLC) and HPLC. The study showed the presence of 11 different Fusarium species grown on potato dextrose agar culture medium of which, F. verticillioides and F. proliferatum, producers of FB1 and F. oxysporum, were the dominant species. Fumonisin B1 was recorded at an incidence rate of 65% of the total using TLC. Results from HPLC showed that 84% were positive at different ranges of concentration for FB1. This study supports the use of bio-wipe as a rapid method to determine human exposure to FB1.Food Additives and Contaminants - Part A Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure and Risk Assessment 08/2014; 31(10). DOI:10.1080/19440049.2014.957248 · 2.34 Impact Factor