CONTROL OF AFLATOXIN PRODUCTION BY TARGETING AFLATOXIN BIOSYNTHESIS
Location: Food and Feed Safety Research
Title: Toxigenic Aspergillus flavus and other fungi of public health concern in food and organic matter in southwest Nigeria
Submitted to: Mycology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 24, 2012
Publication Date: September 6, 2012
Citation: Fapohunda, S.O., Moore, G.G., Ganiyu, T., Beltz, S.B. 2012. Toxigenic Aspergillus flavus and other fungi of public health concern in food and organic matter in southwest Nigeria. Mycology. 3(3):210-219.
Interpretive Summary: Food is a precious commodity in Africa, so awareness and prevention of fungal contamination is tantamount to a starving continent. Researchers in Nigeria hope to raise awareness and promote the research of potentially harmful fungi, in particular the aflatoxigenic species such as Aspergillus flavus. This manuscript is the initial study of common fungal contaminants that were sampled from across southwestern Nigeria in foods and areas where foods are sold or stored. Fungal identification was based on morphological and molecular studies. Since several A. flavus isolates were sampled, additional work was performed to characterize their toxigenic potential, as well as their morphotype as either L- or S-strain, since L-strain A. flavus only produces B aflatoxins, but the S-strain morphotype produces both B and G aflatoxins. If people in Nigeria are aware of the potential exposure to harmful contaminants in their foods, they might feel empowered to protect their own food supply.
Six Aspergillus flavus isolates out of 17 fungal isolates were sampled from diverse food and organic matter in southwest Nigeria. All the A. flavus samples produced aflatoxin and cyclopiazonic acid. These six isolates constitute a ready mycobank of toxigenic species for analytical research involving the safety of food, feed, and the general environment. Consumption of wholesome food materials is contingent upon accurate identification of fungal contaminants, detection and quantification of potential mycotoxins, and subsequent removal/prevention of fungal contamination. Thorough investigations rest on proper maintenance of a reliable mycobank. This manuscript introduces a mini toxigenic A. flavus bank, supported by pictorial illustrations, in addition to other fungi sampled, as a preliminary project for the establishment of a permanent Culture Collection Centre in Nigeria.