The occurrence and co-occurrence of aflatoxin and fumonisin along the maize value chain in southwest Nigeria

October 15, 2019 - Author: Lenis Saweda O. Liverpool-Tasie, Nikita Saha Turna, Oluwatoyin Ademola, Adewale Obadina,

Liverpool-Tasie L, Saha Turna N, Ademola O, Obadina A, Wu F (2019). The occurrence and co-occurrence of aflatoxin and fumonisin along the maize value chain in southwest Nigeria. Food and Chemical Toxicology 129:458-65.


Aflatoxin and fumonisin are two major foodborne mycotoxins: toxic chemicals produced by fungi that contaminate food commodities including maize, a staple food in sub-Saharan Africa. Aflatoxin causes liver cancer, and is associated with acute liver toxicity and immunotoxicity; while fumonisin is associated with neural tube defects in infants and esophageal cancer. Both mycotoxins have been associated with child growth impairment. Previous studies suggest that co-occurrence of these mycotoxins may have potentially synergistic toxicological effects. Despite health risks associated with co-occurrence of these mycotoxins, no study has examined their co-occurrence along key food supply chains in Africa. This study is the first report that examines the occurrence and co-occurrence of aflatoxins and fumonisins along the maize value chain in Nigeria. All samples were analyzed using LC-MS/MS. About 52% and 21% of the samples had aflatoxin levels above the Nigerian and US standards for human food, respectively. Though no regulatory limits exist for fumonisin in Nigeria, 13% of the samples contained fumonisin levels higher than the US regulatory limit. Aflatoxin levels can become dangerously high in maize stored four months or longer. Adequately addressing mycotoxin risk requires consideration of the entire maize value chain and associated value chains for food production.


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