Occurrence of aflatoxin in some of the food and feed in Nepal

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Date: Aug. 2005
From: Indian Journal of Medical Sciences(Vol. 59, Issue 8)
Publisher: Medknow Publications and Media Pvt. Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 2,362 words

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Byline: P. Koirala, S. Kumar, B. Yadav, K. Premarajan

BACKGROUND: There are many contaminants like aflatoxin present in food products. Aflatoxin in comparison to many other contaminants is very toxic and also carcinogenic. There are reports of outbreak of aflatoxin toxicity in many parts of the world. AIM: To find out the level of aflatoxin in common food and feed. SETTING: The study was conducted in 16 districts of the Eastern region of Nepal. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Samples were collected from retailers and whole sellers from 1995 to 2003. Common food items that had high chances of infestation were collected. Food sample were taken to the laboratory to estimate the level of aflatoxin. The thin layer chromatography method was used to detect aflatoxin in the samples and comparison of fluorescence of sample spot with fluorescence of standard for estimation. RESULT: There were 832 samples for aflatoxin detection and estimation. One-third samples were found to be contaminated with aflatoxin. The highest percentage of contamination was found in peanut butter/vegetable oil (42.5%) and the lowest in areca nut (25%). Highest proportion of cornflakes samples were found to be contaminated with aflatoxin by more than the recommended value (30 ppb) and contamination in peanut was the lowest. CONCLUSION: People consume many common food items that contain aflatoxin. It is of high importance for the concerned department to give attention to this important public health issue. Even in small doses, continuous consumption can lead to many health problems. So it is of paramount importance to detect and control these contaminants in food items.


Aflatoxins are a group of mycotoxins produced by certain fungi of Aspergillus 's family. Most mycotoxins do not affect humans. A few, such as aflatoxin, citrinin, luteoskyrin, patulin, penicillic acid, rugulosin, and sterigmatocystin are not only toxic but even carcinogic.[1] Aflatoxin B1 is the most abundant aflatoxin and is considered to be the most toxic.[1] Aflatoxin affects liver causing cirrhosis, hepatoma, hepatitis, and Rey's disease as, well as affect other organs like kidney, myocardium, and muscles.[2] Even it may lead to decreased immunity in animal.[3] A study conducted among the Philippine people with liver cancer showed 440% higher consumption of aflatoxin as compared to controls.[4] Time to time there has been outbreaks of aflatoxin toxicity caused by the consumption of moldy grain. A recent outbreak of jaundice due to aflatoxin toxicity occurred in Kenya. The mortality rate was as high as 39%.[5] The problem is more in this part of the world where there is no proper place to keep the grains dry for long time. It is very difficult to keep all foodstuff in airtight containers. In an outbreak, 106 people died and 291 showed symptoms of hepatic dysfunction after consumption of moldy maize.[6] Although liver, kidney, and muscles are commonly affected by aflatoxin, the brain is also affected. Autopsy of Thai children who died due to encephalopathy showed aflatoxin in their specimen.[7] There are reports of the presence of aflatoxin in the blood of people from Nepal, who...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A135630792