According to agricultural and health experts, Exposure to aflatoxin, a mycotoxin produced by fungi that commonly contaminates cereal crops across sub-Saharan Exposure to large doses, known as acute aflatoxicosis can lead to acute illness and death and has been associated with impaired child growth.
A study has revealed the impact of aflatoxin exposure on the growth of Gambian infants from birth to two years of age, and the impact on insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-axis proteins.
This study found a small but significant effect of aflatoxin exposure on the growth of Gambian infants.
Dietary exposure to aflatoxins is among the major risk factors. Aflatoxin B1, which is a genotoxic hepatocarcinogen, which presumptively causes cancer by inducing DNA adducts leading to genetic changes in target liver cells.
Contamination of food, feed and agricultural commodities by aflatoxins imposes an enormous economic concern, as these chemicals are highly carcinogenic, they can directly influence the structure of DNA, can lead to miscarriages, and are known to suppress immune systems.
Large doses of aflatoxins can lead to acute poisoning (aflatoxicosis) and can be life-threatening, usually through damage to the liver. Aflatoxins have also been shown to be genotoxic, meaning they can damage DNA and cause cancer in animal species. There is also evidence that they can cause liver cancer in humans.
Aflatoxins are a family of toxins produced by certain fungi that are found on agricultural crops such as maize (corn), peanuts, cottonseed, and tree nuts. The main fungi that produce aflatoxins are Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasitics, which are abundant in warm and humid regions of the world.
The foods and crops most likely to be contaminated with aflatoxin include peanuts.corn.milk and cheese (rarely, meat can also become contaminated due to the spreading of aflatoxin in livestock feed)
nuts (especially almonds, Brazil nuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts)
Pets experiencing aflatoxin poisoning may have symptoms such as sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice (yellowish tint to the eyes or gums due to liver damage), and/or diarrhoea. In severe cases, this toxicity can be fatal.
Aflatoxins, secreted in minute quantities by a fungus called Aspergillus flavus, contaminate groundnuts while they grow in the soil, and when farmers try to dry the nuts after harvest. Drought and rain increase the problem, especially for smallholder farmers who rely on the crop for food and income.
Beating aflatoxins in groundnuts:
Microwave heating shows great potential for the destruction of aflatoxin in contaminated peanut