Article

Impact of mycotoxins on human health in developing countries

PROMEC Unit, Medical Research Council, Tygerberg 7505, South Africa.
Food Additives and Contaminants - Part A Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure and Risk Assessment (Impact Factor: 1.8). 03/2008; 25(2):146-51. DOI: 10.1080/02652030701567442
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Adverse human health effects from the consumption of mycotoxins have occurred for many centuries. Although mycotoxin contamination of agricultural products still occurs in the developed world, the application of modern agricultural practices and the presence of a legislatively regulated food processing and marketing system have greatly reduced mycotoxin exposure in these populations. At the mycotoxin contamination levels generally found in food products traded in these market economies, adverse human health effects have largely been overcome. However, in the developing world, where climatic and crop storage conditions are frequently conducive to fungal growth and mycotoxin production, much of the population relies on subsistence farming or on unregulated local markets. The extent to which mycotoxins affect human health is difficult to investigate in countries whose health systems lack capacity and in which resources are limited. Aflatoxin B(1), the toxin on which major resources have been expended, has long been linked to liver cancer, yet its other effects, such as immune suppression and growth faltering previously observed in veterinary studies, are only now being investigated and characterized in human populations. The extent to which factors such as immune suppression contribute to the overall burden of infectious disease is difficult to quantify, but is undoubtedly significant. Thus, food safety remains an important opportunity for addressing current health problems in developing countries.

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    • "Still, the majority of African countries have no specific mycotoxins regulations . Even for the few countries with established regulations, enforcement is limited due to reliance on subsistence farming and home produced food (FAO, 2004;Shephard, 2008). In this context, this paper is presenting results of an inventory of local agricultural practices and their linkage with the presence of mycotoxigenic Fusarium species and their associated mycotoxins (FB1, FB2, DON, ZEA, T-2 toxin and HT-2 toxin), in two maize producing agro-ecological zones (AEZ) of Tanzania. "
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    ABSTRACT: Knowledge on the presence of mycotoxins in Africa is fragmentary, although it can be assumed that both concentrations and prevalence in food commodities is high. The present study focuses on the presence of Fusarium species and their associated mycotoxins in maize from two geographically distant agro ecological systems in Tanzania. In a two-year survey, both Fusarium species and concomitant mycotoxins were surveyed in the Northern highlands (Hanang district) and the Eastern lowlands (Kilosa district). Parallel with this, a questionnaire on agricultural practices in both agro-ecosystems was included in this study. This allowed us to put the presence of the toxigenic Fusarium species and their mycotoxins within a relevant agricultural framework.
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    • "Aflatoxins and fumonisins are the most important mycotoxins produced by major food–borne fungi in sub-tropical and tropical climates (Shephard et al. 2004). They have been demonstrated to be responsible for production loss of staple crops such as maize, peanuts and other grains in most of Africa, due to climatic and agro-ecological factors which favour their growth (Shephard 2008). Lack of awareness about mycotoxins and the use of certain agricultural practices in processing and preserving crops may also be responsible for fungal growth and mycotoxin production (Moss 1996). "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to assess mycotoxin contamination of crops grown by rural subsistence farmers over two seasons (2011 and 2012) in two districts, Vhembe District Municipality (VDM, Limpopo Province) and Gert Sibande District Municiality (GSDM, Mpumalanga Province) in northern South Africa and to evaluate its impact on farmers' productivity and human and animal health. A total of 114 maize samples were collected from 39 households over the two seasons and were analysed using a validated LC-MS/MS mycotoxins method. Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) occurrence ranged from 1 to 133 µg kg(-1) in VDM while AFB1 levels in GSDM were less than 1.0 µg kg(-1) in all maize samples. Fumonisin B1 (FB1) levels ranged from 12 to 8514 µg kg(-1) (VDM) and 11-18924 µg kg(-1) (GSDM) in 92% and 47% positive samples respectively, over both seasons. Natural occurrence and contamination with both fumonisins and aflatoxins in stored home-grown maize from VDM was significantly (p < 0.0001) higher than from GSDM over both seasons.
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    • "The activity of antiporter proteins in the intestines depends on the presence of intestinal enzymes CYP3A4 and phase I isoenzyme, which plays a main role in detoxication (Sergent et al. 2008). In the last few years, scientific studies have focused on the mycotoxins that cause disease in the human population or worsen the health status of farm or companion animals (Shephard 2008). These mycotoxins are most often aflatoxin B 1 , ochratoxin A, tricothecenes (toxin T-2, deoxynivalenol, and diacetoxyscirpenol ), zearalenon, and fumonisins. "

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