Food Science and Technology Department


First Advisor

Andreia Bianchini

Second Advisor

Jayne Stratton

Date of this Version

Fall 12-1-2020


Mendoza Jimenez, J.R. (2020). Assessment of Grain Safety in Developing Nations. PhD diss, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Food Science & Technology.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College of the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Food Science and Technology, Under the Supervision of Professors Andreia Bianchini and Jayne E. Stratton. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2020

Copyright © 2020 José Rodrigo Mendoza Jiménez


Grains are the most widely consumed foods worldwide, with maize (Zea mays) being frequently consumed in developing countries where it feeds approximately 900 million people under the poverty line of 2 USD per day. While grain handling practices are acceptable in most developed nations, many developing nations still face challenges such as inadequate field management, drying, and storage. Faulty grain handling along with unavoidably humid climates result in recurrent fungal growth and spoilage, which compromises both the end-quality and safety of the harvest. This becomes particularly problematic where there is little awareness about health risks associated with poor quality grain. Fungi are contaminants of maize and some can produce toxins, known as mycotoxins, that both devalue crop marketability and have detrimental health effects, especially to those malnourished. As some households depend on their harvest for self-consumption, losses due to fungi endanger their food security. To abate the threat posed by mycotoxigenic fungi on maize among developing nations, this research was conducted as a compilation of works in several countries. More specifically, it describes agricultural practices currently in use in developing nations, provides an overview of mycotoxin prevalence and approaches that can be used to improve grain safety post-harvest through proper storage. Additionally, it provides a platform to evaluate the economic feasibility of storage technologies for maize storage at household level. While the countries of focus were Guatemala, Honduras and Nepal, findings presented can lead to improved decision-making within any maize production chain to safeguard consumers throughout the developing world.

Advisor: Andréia Bianchini