Submitted to: Journal of Stored Products Research
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2005
Publication Date: 1/15/2006
Citation: Liu, Z., Gao, J., Yu, J. 2006. Aflatoxins in Stored Maize and Rice Grains in Liaoning Province, China. Journal of Stored Products Research. 42:468-479. Interpretive Summary: Aflatoxins are the most toxic and cancer-inducing compounds produced by certain fungi such as Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus. These compounds contaminate our food source such as corn, cotton, peanut, and tree nuts when the fungus infects crops. Investigation into aflatoxin contamination in a third world country will enhance our knowledge to the problem and give us clues as to how to solve this worldwide food safety problem. A comprehensive survey was made in Northeastern China. The results demonstrated the widespread contamination of aflatoxins in food grain. The degree of contamination in the cooler Northern region is much less severe than in the South. This result is consistent with the climate changes from sub-tropical region to cooler region. The aflatoxin content in maize and rice is much lower than the regulated maximum amount allowed in foodstuff in China and other countries. We concluded that these grains are safe for human and livestock consumption and for trading.
Technical Abstract: Aflatoxins are toxic fungal metabolites and potent carcinogenic agents. These toxins often contaminate agricultural commodities and pose a serious threat to animal and human health. Aflatoxin content in stored maize and rice in Liaoning Province, Northeastern China, was thoroughly studied. The samples were collected from a vast area of 14.68 million km2. Aflatoxins in the samples were extracted and determined by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The results showed that almost all samples collected contained aflatoxins ranging from 0.99 ppb to 3.87 ppb with an average of 1.27 ppb. Aflatoxin content in maize was less than 1 ppb. Three-fourths of the total amount of aflatoxins in whole grain rice (3.87 ppb) could be removed by dehusking processing resulting in the average aflatoxin content from 3.87 ppb to as low as 0.88 ppb. Aflatoxin G1 was detected as the major type of aflatoxins in over 40% of all stored grain samples tested and over 92% rice samples examined. The aflatoxin content in maize and rice is much lower than the regulated maximum amount allowed in foodstuff in China and other countries. We concluded that these grains are safe for human and livestock consumption and for trading.