Benin

Nationwide studies for aflatoxins in stored maize in Benin have been conducted (Setamou et al., 1997). The study involved the sampling of 80 and 60 maize fields in 1994 and 1995, respectively, to monitor Aspergillus infection and aflatoxin contamination of preharvest maize found A. flavus the most prevalent of the Aspergillus species isolated. Aflatoxins were detected in at least 30% of the maize fields sampled. There was a trend towards higher aflatoxin accumulation per percentage of A. flavus infection from the south to the north of the country. Damage by the ear borer (Mussidia nigrivenella) increased aflatoxin accumulation in maize and its incidence may be related to aflatoxin contamination.

Other studies of fungal infection and mycotoxins in maize stores of small scale farmers from different agroecological zones of Benin showed aflatoxin contamination in 25% of the maize stores in the southern zones with a mean of 100 ng/g after six to eight months of storage. In the northernmost zone, the Sudan Savanna, 56% of the maize stores were contaminated with aflatoxins at a mean level of 220 ng/g after six months of storage (Hell et al.,

2000). Nearly 40% of 744 maize samples from the southern Guinea, Sudan Savanna and the forest mosaic zones of Benin were positive for aflatoxins with an average of 105 ng/g (Hell et al., 2000).

Apart from maize, dried yam chips used for the preparation of "amala", a staple food in Benin, also were contaminated with aflatoxins. Ninety-eight percent of the samples contained aflatoxins at levels ranging from 2.2 to 220 ng/g with a mean value of 14 ng/g (Bassa et al.,

2001). Another study found that 23% of 107 samples contained > 15 ng/g total aflatoxins and that 80% contained total aflatoxins above the EU standard of 4 ng/g (Mestres et al., 2004).

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