Aflatoxins in Food
Toxins are produced by Microorganisms and chemicals and can get into the food we consume. Aflatoxins are one of the naturally occurring toxins produced by fungi genus, Aspergillus specie A. flavus, these fungi are prevalent in warm and humid climate conditions. Aflatoxins contaminate several foods such as maize, peanuts, millet, wheat, rice, dried spices, and cocoa.
Aflatoxins are highly poisonous, carcinogenic, and cause severe contamination to food sources, leading to serious health consequences, such as abdominal pain, convulsions, pulmonary edema, cerebral edema, kidney damage, liver damage, liver cancer, death, and also cause impaired growth in children.
Humans can be exposed to aflatoxins by periodic consumption of contaminated food. Remarkably, 4.5 billion people mostly in developing countries are at the risk of chronic exposure to aflatoxins from contaminated food crops.
Food production companies have to ensure food safety and security by testing crops before it is being used in production. So as safeguard individuals from the adverse effect of aflatoxins. Several techniques can be adopted to ensure food security, which includes:
1. Chromatography techniques such as the Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC), High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), and Gas Chromatography.
2. Spectroscopic methods, examples of such method are the Fluorescence Spectrometry and Frontier Infrared Spectroscopy.
3. Immunochemical methods involve the use of chemical assays such as Radioimmunoassay (RIA), Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), Immunoaffinity Column Assay (ICA), and Immunosensors.
Some of the ways to lower risks of aflatoxins in the body include:
1. Don’t store grains and nut for long periods
2. Store grains, corn, and nuts in places that are dry and cool
3. Eating detoxifying fruit and vegetables such as pineapples, oranges, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage all these helps the body in the fight against toxins.