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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Preliminary Studies on the Fate of Fumonisins During the Manufacture of Fried Corn Chips

item Voss, Kenneth
item Saunders, D - FRITO-LAY, INC., PLANO,TX
item Meredith, Filmore

Submitted to: Toxicologist
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 1, 1999
Publication Date: March 1, 2000

Technical Abstract: Fumonisins are mycotoxins produced by Fusarium moniliforme(=F. verticillioides) and F. proliferatum, fungi commonly found on corn. They cause fatal diseases in farm animals,are hepato- and nephrotoxic, and are rodent liver and kidney carcinogens. The human health effects of fumonisins are unclear. However, consumption of F. moniliforme molded or fumonisin contaminated corn has been correlated with high rates of esophageal cancer in areas of southern Africa and China in which corn is a dietary staple. Because little information on the fate of fumonisins during commercial scale production of fried tortilla chips, a popular corn-based snack, was studied. Measurable fumonisin B1 (FB1) and B2 (FB2) concentrations in the tortilla chips varied, but were 40-80 percent lower than in the raw corn (n=4 batches) from which the chips were made. Cooking and steeping the corn in alkaline water, the first step in making the chips, was critical for lowering fumonisin concentrations. The intermediate steps of grinding the cooked corn into masa, baking, and frying the masa had little effect. Hydrolyzed FB1 (HFB1) was formed during cooking and steeping. HFB1 concentrations in the fried chips were, however, relatively low compared to FB1, suggesting that most HFB1 remains in the steep liquid and other waste byproducts. These findings emphasize that soaking and rinsing are important steps for the reduction of fumonisins in foods prepared from masa.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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