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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Food and Feed Safety Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #214207

Title: Pre- and Post-Harvest Management of Aflatoxin in Maize: An African Perspective

item Cotty, Peter

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2007
Publication Date: 3/15/2008
Citation: Hell, K., Fandohan, P., Bandyopadhyay, R., Kiewnick, S., Sikora, R., Cotty, P.J. 2008. Pre- and Post-Harvest Management of Aflatoxin in Maize: An African Perspective. In: Leslie, J.F., Bandyopadhyay, R., and Visconti, A., editors. Mycotoxins: Detection Methods, Management, Public Health, and Agricultural Trade. Oxfordshire: CAB International. p. 219-229.

Interpretive Summary: Aflatoxins are toxic fungal metabolites that can inhibit human development, cause cancer, and even induce death. For over three decades, people have tried to develop methods for limiting aflatoxin contamination of crops and certain practices have been found to be useful in limiting contamination. The current chapter summarizes methods for limiting contamination that may be useful in Africa and, in so doing, lays a foundation for developing improved methods of management that may be useful throughout the world. Through careful examination of management in Africa, insights into how to contribute towards improved human health through reduction of mycotoxins is obtained.

Technical Abstract: Pre- and post-harvest contamination of aflatoxin in maize is a major health deterrent of people in Africa where increase in production of the crop has been dramatic. This paper discusses management options to manage pre- and post-harvest toxin contamination in maize. Sound crop management practices have been found to be one of the more effective ways of avoiding, or at least diminishing, infection by Aspergillus flavus and subsequent aflatoxin production. Pre- and post-harvest practices that reduce aflatoxin contamination are use of resistant cultivars, harvesting at maturity, rapid drying on platforms to avoid contact with soil, appropriate shelling method to reduce grain damage, sorting, use of clean and aerated storage structures, controlling insect damage, and avoidance of long storage period. These management practices to reduce contamination from the field to the mouth are being tested in collaboration with farmers. Work continues to focus on food basket survey, bio-ecology of aflatoxin production, biological control through competitive exclusion strategy, impact of post-harvest management practices on human blood toxin levels, and resistance breeding. Practices related to dietary change, dietary interventions, and detoxification could also significantly reduce aflatoxin exposure. Strategies to reduce impact of mycotoxin on trade need investigations.