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Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2017 Sep;34(9):1606-1616. doi: 10.1080/19440049.2017.1350290. Epub 2017 Jul 10.

Assessment of aflatoxin exposure among young children in Ethiopia using urinary biomarkers.

Author information

a Department of Bioanalysis, Laboratory of Food Analysis, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences , Ghent University , Ghent , Belgium.
b Center for Food Science and Nutrition, College of Natural Sciences , Addis Ababa University , Addis Ababa , Ethiopia.
c Department of Food Science and Postharvest Technology, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine , Jimma University , Jimma , Ethiopia.
d Micronutrient Initiative (MI) , Deputy Regional Director , Addis Ababa , Ethiopia.


The direct measurement of biomarkers of exposure in biological fluids such as urine has become important for assessing aflatoxin exposure in humans as it is the only tool that integrates exposures from various routes. For this reason, a study was conducted to assess aflatoxin exposure among young children in Ethiopia using urinary biomarkers. A cross-sectional study was conducted in ten Woredas (Districts) from Amhara and Tigray regional states of Ethiopia including 200 children (aged 1-4 years). A total of 200 urine samples were collected from 200 children and assessed for the levels of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), aflatoxin B2 (AFB2), aflatoxin G1 (AFG1), aflatoxin G2 (AFG2) and aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) using a validated LC-MS/MS method. Aflatoxins were detected in 34/200 (17%) of the urine samples whereby four out of five analysed aflatoxins were detected. AFM1 was detected in 14/200 (7%) of the urine samples in a range of 0.06-0.07 ng/mL. AFB2, AFG2 and AFG1 were detected in respectively 9/200 (4.5%), 6/200 (3%) and 5/200 (2.5%) of the urine samples whereas AFB1 was not detected in any of the samples. In this study, there was no association between the different malnutrition categories (stunted, wasting and underweight) and aflatoxin exposure. However, the biomarker analysis showed a clear exposure of young children to aflatoxins. Therefore, awareness to the public is important to prevent potential health consequences of aflatoxins.


Biomarker; aflatoxin; children; exposure assessment; urine

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