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Environ Int. 2014 May;66:138-45. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.02.003. Epub 2014 Feb 26.

Mycotoxin exposure in rural residents in northern Nigeria: a pilot study using multi-urinary biomarkers.

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Mycotoxicology Research Unit, Department of Biosciences and Biotechnology, Babcock University, Ilishan Remo, Nigeria; Pathology/Mycotoxin Laboratory, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, P.M.B. 5320, Ibadan, Nigeria. Electronic address:
Center for Analytical Chemistry, Department of Agrobiotechnology (IFA-Tulln), University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU), Konrad Lorenzstr. 20, A-3430 Tulln, Austria.
Faculty of Agriculture, Nasarawa State University Keffi, Lafia Campus, Nasarawa State, Nigeria.
Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Yaounde I, Yaounde, Cameroon; Department of Food Technology, Faculty of Science, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Department of Public Health, Babcock University, Ilishan Remo, Nigeria.
Pathology/Mycotoxin Laboratory, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, P.M.B. 5320, Ibadan, Nigeria.
MIAEH, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.
Department of Agriculture and Industrial Technology, Babcock University, Ilishan Remo, Nigeria.


A pilot, cross-sectional, correlational study was conducted in eight rural communities in northern Nigeria to investigate mycotoxin exposures in 120 volunteers (19 children, 20 adolescents and 81 adults) using a modern LC-MS/MS based multi-biomarker approach. First morning urine samples were analyzed and urinary biomarker levels correlated with mycotoxin levels in foods consumed the day before urine collection. A total of eight analytes were detected in 61/120 (50.8%) of studied urine samples, with ochratoxin A, aflatoxin M1 and fumonisin B1 being the most frequently occurring biomarkers of exposure. These mycotoxin biomarkers were present in samples from all age categories, suggestive of chronic (lifetime) exposures. Rough estimates of mycotoxin intake suggested some exposures were higher than the tolerable daily intake. Overall, rural consumer populations from Nasarawa were more exposed to several mixtures of mycotoxins in their diets relative to those from Kaduna as shown by food and urine biomarker data. This study has shown that mycotoxin co-exposure may be a major public health challenge in rural Nigeria; this calls for urgent intervention.


Biomarker; Exposure assessment; Food safety; Human urine; Mycotoxin biomonitoring; Nigeria

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