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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Toxicology & Mycotoxin Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #350205

Research Project: Health Risks Posed by the Consumption of Cooked Foods Prepared from Naturally Contaminated Corn

Location: Toxicology & Mycotoxin Research

Title: A Limited Survey of Corn Meal and Alkaline Cooked Products for Aflatoxin-Fumonisin Co-contamination in the Southeastern U.S., 2015-2016

item XUE, KATHY - University Of Georgia
item Showker, Adele
item Mitchell, Trevor
item RILEY, RONALD - Retired ARS Employee
item Voss, Kenneth

Submitted to: Toxicologist
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/9/2018
Publication Date: 3/11/2018
Citation: Xue, K., Showker, A.J., Mitchell, T.R., Riley, R.T., Voss, K.A. 2018. A Limited Survey of Corn Meal and Alkaline Cooked Products for Aflatoxin-Fumonisin Co-contamination in the Southeastern U.S., 2015-2016. Meeting Abstract. 162:155.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Aflatoxins are mycotoxins found in corn. They exert adverse health effects in humans including liver cancer and stunted growth in young children. Fumonisins (FB) are also common mycotoxin contaminants of corn and their co-occurrence with aflatoxins has been reported. FB cause species-specific toxicities in animals, however their human health effects are uncertain. Experimental and epidemiological evidence nonetheless suggests that FB are a risk factor for growth inhibition in children, birth (neural tube) defects, and cancer if contaminated corn is consumed in large amounts on a regular basis. Aflatoxins and FB exert their toxic and carcinogenic effects in animals through different but complementary mechanisms and co-exposure is a growing concern for human health. Corn-based food products acquired from local markets in the southeastern U.S. were surveyed in 2015 (Survey 1) and 2016 (Survey 2) to determine the extent of co-contamination. Survey 1 included 18 alkaline cooked (nixtamalized) corn flours and 23 corn meal samples. Survey 2 included the alkaline cooked products, polenta (n=7) and grits (n=10). Aflatoxin B1 (13.4 µg/kg) was found in only one sample, an alkaline cooked corn flour from Survey 1. In contrast, FB were found in all samples surveyed. Mean total FB (FB1+2+3) concentrations in Survey 1 alkaline cooked corn flours and corn meals were 0.72 (±0.62 SD) mg/kg and 1.43 (±3.03) mg/kg, respectively. Total FB in Survey 2 averaged 0.23 (±0.30) mg/kg in grits and 0.43 (±0.32) mg/kg in polenta. The results of this limited survey indicate that aflatoxin-FB co-contamination of corn products purchased in the southeastern U.S. during 2015-2016 was uncommon.