Food Science and Technology Department


Department of Food Science and Technology: Faculty Publications

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Sabillón, L.; Alvarado, J.; Leiva, A.; Mendoza, R.; Espinal, R.; Leslie, J.F.; Bianchini, A. Presence, Co-Occurrence, and Daily Intake Estimates of Aflatoxins and Fumonisins in Maize Consumed in Food-Insecure Regions ofWestern Honduras. Toxins 2023, 15, 559. toxins15090559


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Foodborne mycotoxins are a significant food safety risk in developing countries. Our objective was to determine the occurrence of and exposure levels to aflatoxins (AFs) and fumonisins (FBs) in maize intended for human and animal consumption in food-insecure regions of western Honduras. Total AFs and FBs were quantified with a monoclonal antibody-based affinity spectrofluorimetric method. FBs were detected in 614/631 samples of maize destined for human consumption at 0.3 to 41 mg/kg (mean, 2.7 mg/kg). Of the 614 positive samples, 147 had FB levels exceeding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory threshold of 4.0 mg/kg. AFs were detected in 109/631 samples of maize for human consumption with concentrations between 1.0 and 490 μg/kg (mean, 10 μg/kg). AF levels in 34 samples exceeded the FDA regulatory limit (i.e., 20 μg/kg). The average probable daily intake of AFs in western Honduras ranged from 0 to 260 ng/kg body weight/day, and for FBs, the average probable daily intake ranged from 17 to 53 μg/kg body weight/day. AFs and FBs co-occurred in 106/631 samples with 60 samples containing both toxins at levels greater than the FDA regulatory levels. Samples of maize intended for animal feed had significantly higher AF (mean, 22 μg/kg) and FB (mean, 7.6 mg/kg) contamination levels than those observed in samples destined for human consumption. Thus, the maize supply chain in western Honduras is contaminated with mycotoxins at levels that pose health risks to both humans and livestock. More effective mycotoxin surveillance and implementation of effective mitigation strategies are needed to reduce mycotoxin contamination and exposure.

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