The following crops may be infected my aflatoxins:
1. Cereals (maize, sorghum, pearl millet, rice, wheat)
2. Oilseeds (peanut, soybean, sunflower, cotton)
3. Spices (chilli peppers, black pepper, coriander, turmeric, ginger)
4. Tree nuts (almond, pistachio, walnut, coconut, brazil nut).
It can also be found in the milk of animals which are fed contaminated feed.
Aflatoxins are toxic, a mycotoxin produced by Aspergillus flavus. This fungi is in soil, decaying vegetation, hay, and grains. It grows whenever conditions are favorable.
Aflatoxins could be prevented by the following methods:
According to Emery Univercity, non-aflatoxin producing strains of fungi can be introduced into fields to compete with the toxin-producing strain. Fungicides and pesticides can also be used. I do not agree with this chemical applications
1. Crops should be harvested as soon as possible after maturation to avoid quality loss and to minimize problems involving fungal attack and infestation with insects.
2. Ground contact should be avoided to prevent contamination by litter and soil.
1. Should be sorted before to remove defective nuts, leaves, twigs and other foreign materials.
2. Should be processed and dried soon after harvest to minimize staining, decay and to ensure safety.
3. Fumigation with methyl bromide or phosphine can be used to control insects in stored commodities. Repeat fumigation may be necessary depending on the conditions and duration of storage. But this may introduce chemical contaminants
It must be adequately dried. Moisture content of dried product should be of 5 to 6 percent.
1. Dried grains/nuts are usually stored in bins, silos or other bulk storage containers for a few weeks or several months before final processing and preparation for market.
2. Optimum storage conditions of 10°C or lower and 65 to 70 percent relative humidity must be maintained to minimize deterioration, including the growth of Aspergillus flavus.
3. Protection against insects is also essential during the storage period.
1. Nuts are sorted, using visual or light reflectance electronic sorting techniques, to eliminate those with defects (nuts with adhering hulls, stained and mouldy nuts).
2. Nuts are sorted to eliminate those with possible aflatoxin contamination.