Friday, June 25, 2010

Aflatoxins in general

Aflatoxins in general
The aflatoxins are a group of chemically similar toxic fungal metabolites (mycotoxins) produced by certain moulds of the genus Aspergillus growing on a number of raw-food commodities.

Aflatoxins are highly toxic compounds and can cause both acute and chronic toxicity in humans and many other animals.

Their importance was first established in 1960 when 100 000 turkeys and other poultry in the UK died in a single event.

The case of this was eventually traced to a toxic contaminant in groundnut meal used in the bird’s feed. The contaminant later named aflatoxin.

The aflatoxins consist of about 20 similar compounds belonging to a group called the difuranocoumarins, but only four are naturally found in foods.

These are aflatoxins B1, B2, G1 and G2. Aflatoxin B1 is the most commonly found in food and also the most toxic. When lactating cattle and other animals ingest aflatoxins in contaminated feed, toxic metabolites can be formed and may be present in milk.

These hydroxylated are termed aflatoxin M1 and M2 and they are potentially important contaminants in dairy products.

Aflatoxins may be present in a wide range of food commodities, particularly cereals, oilseeds, spices and tree nuts.

Maize, groundnuts (peanuts), pistachios, brazils, chilies, black pepper, dried fruit and figs are all known to be high risk foods for aflatoxins contamination, but the toxin has also detected in many other commodities. Milk, cheese and their diary products are also known to be at risk of contamination by aflatoxin M.

The highest kevels are usually found in commodities from warmer regions of the world where there is a great deal of climatic variation.
Aflatoxins in general

The Most Popular Posts