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J Food Prot. 2014 Oct;77(10):1814-8. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-14-129.

Natural occurrence of aflatoxins in peanuts and peanut butter from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

Author information

1
Department of Life and Consumer Sciences, University of South Africa, Private Bag X6, Florida 1710, South Africa; Diagnofirm Medical Laboratories, Private Bag 283, Gaborone, Botswana.
2
Department of Life and Consumer Sciences, University of South Africa, Private Bag X6, Florida 1710, South Africa.
3
PROMEC Unit, Medical Research Council, P.O. Box 19070, Tygerberg 7505, South Africa.
4
PROMEC Unit, Medical Research Council, P.O. Box 19070, Tygerberg 7505, South Africa; Department of Pharmaceutical Science, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa. katereredr@tut.ac.za.

Abstract

Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites produced by filamentous fungi that may contaminate food and pose a health risk, especially in developing countries, where there is a lack of food security and quality is subsumed by food insufficiency. Aflatoxins are the most toxic known mycotoxins and are a significant risk factor for liver and kidney cancer, teratogenicity, undernutrition, and micronutrient malabsorption in both humans and animals. The main aim of the study was to determine the extent of fungal and aflatoxin contamination in peanuts and peanut butter being sold in both the formal and informal markets in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Eighteen peanut samples and 11 peanut butter samples were purchased from retail shops and the informal market. Fungal contamination was determined using standard mycology culture methods, while aflatoxin contamination was determined using high-performance liquid chromatography-fluorescence detection. Four of the six peanut samples tested for fungal contamination were infected with Aspergillus flavus/parasiticus, ranging from 3 to 20% of the kernels examined, while 27% (3 of 11) of the peanut butter samples were infected with A. flavus/parasiticus. Ninety-one percent (10 of 11) of the peanut butter samples were contaminated with aflatoxins (mean, 75.66 ng/g, and range, 6.1 to 247 ng/g), and aflatoxin B1 was the most prevalent (mean, 51.0 ng/g, and range, 3.7 to 191 ng/g). Three of the 18 peanut samples were contaminated with aflatoxins (range, 6.6 to 622 ng/g). The commercial peanut butter samples had very high aflatoxin levels, and manufacturers should be sensitized to the detrimental effects of aflatoxins and measures to reduce contamination.

PMID:
25285504
DOI:
10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-14-129
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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