What are aflatoxins?

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Presented by Fen Beed at the Science Forum 2013, Bonn, Germany, 23‒25 September 2013

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  • Transferred from mother to baby
  • 2.5 billion exposed worldwideHigh human exposure in Africa – mother to babyLevels and frequency of occurrence high>30% maize in stores with >20 ppb aflatoxin
  • National and regionally
  • Health and performance of humans and animals
  • What are aflatoxins?

    1. 1. What are Aflatoxins? Fen Beed IITA, Tanzania Breakout Session 4 on Food Security Science Forum 2013 Nutrition and health outcomes: targets for agricultural research, Bonn, Germany, 23‒25 September 2013
    2. 2. Invisible and odourless metabolites produced by ubiquitous fungus Aspergillus flavus
    3. 3. Problem; perfect aflatoxin storm in sub-Saharan Africa susceptible crops susceptible climate suboptimal production systems 35o N & S Under-reported
    4. 4. Problem; aflatoxin harms people and animals acute hepatitis, cirrhosis chronic anti-nutritional reduced vigour
    5. 5. Problem; aflatoxin harms trade
    6. 6. Two phases of aflatoxin contamination Before crop maturity  Developing crops become infected  Associated with crop damage (insect, bird, stress)  Favoured by high temperature (night) and dry conditions After crop maturity Contamination is increased;  By rain during harvest  By drying on soil  By poor handling during harvest, transport and storage  By storage if humid, warm, insect infested Food is vulnerable until consumed!
    7. 7. Awareness
    8. 8. • Harmonized standards in foods and feeds • Enhanced capacity of regulators • Standard protocols for sampling and quantification • Alternative uses (treat with ammonia and feed to cattle) • Inclusion in nutrition and health policies • Critical role of PACA and RECs Advocacy and policies
    9. 9. Aflatoxin summary Agricultural issue with significant, negative impacts on; Food safety Public health Animal health Trade

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