Establishment of aflatoxin analysis laboratory

The ICRISAT-NASFAM partnership project initiated the establishment of an analytical laboratory for aflatoxins at ICRISAT-Lilongwe, Malawi in April 2004. The initial phase involved stocking the laboratory with equipment, glassware and consumables. A laboratory was already in place for doing pathology related research work, so some of the equipment was already available. During the season before the laboratory was functional, NASFAM and ICRISAT-Lilongwe collected 3,806 peanut samples from farmers. The samples were ground to a powder, labeled and shipped by courier to ICRISAT headquarters in Patancheru, India for aflatoxin analyses. At ICRISAT-Patancheru, aflatoxin was extracted from the samples and analyzed by ELISA to determine the aflatoxin concentration (Waliyar et al, 2005). Analytical results were returned to ICRISAT-Lilongwe and provided to NASFAM for product differentiation and market targeting based on the maximum permissible limits of aflatoxin. Before the laboratory began operating, capacity building was done through a training course at ICRISAT-Lilongwe on aflatoxin management and aflatoxin levels determined by an ELISA method. Two scientists/technicians from NARS and NASFAM were trained at ICRISAT-Patancheru to estimate Aspergillus flavus seed infection and to use aflatoxin analytical techniques.

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