Aflatoxin contamination and food quality

Agricultural crops can be contaminated by aflatoxin during production, storage, processing and transportation when temperature and humidity conditions are suitable. Mold growth and aflatoxin production are favored by warm temperatures and high humidity. Aflatoxin production requires high humidity and poor storage conditions often are conducive to the growth of Aspergillus (Hell et al., 2000). Aflatoxin contaminates a wide range of agricultural products, including cereals, dried fruits, nuts, coffee beans and oilseeds, which are the agricultural backbone of most developing economy's exports (Bankole and Adebanjo, 2003). Total aflatoxin (B1, B2, G1 and G2) content in ng/g of product can give an indication of product quality and can be used as a threshold for separating high, medium and low quality produce. This grading is used for pricing either with a premium (high quality) or a discount (poor quality). The risk for spoilage is a function of factors including: the variety of crop, the time and method of harvest and storage, the storage temperature, the moisture content and the drying method prior to storage.

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