Aflatoxin levels in maize and peanut and blood in women and children: The case of Timor-Leste

Luis de Almeida, Robert Williams, Dirce M. Soares, Harry Nesbitt, Graeme Wright, William Erskine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Aflatoxins are toxic fungal metabolites produced by Aspergillus sp. with carcinogenic properties that are a common food contaminant of many crops including maize and peanuts. In Timor-Leste malnutrition and children's stunting are frequent and maize and peanuts are staple foods. This study aimed to provide information on aflatoxin exposure nationally. The study measured levels of aflatoxin in locally-produced maize and peanuts (296 samples) and of aflatoxin-albumin conjugate in blood samples of women and young children (514 and 620 respectively) across all municipalities. The average concentration of aflatoxin in the grain samples was low with most maize (88%) and peanut (92%) samples - lower than European Commission tolerated aflatoxin level. Although aflatoxin-albumin conjugate was detected in more than 80% of blood samples, the average concentration in children and adults of 0.64 and 0.98 pg mg-1 alb, respectively, is much lower than in other similar rural-based countries. Although low in concentration, blood aflatoxin levels and aflatoxin contamination levels in maize across municipalities were correlated significantly for mothers (R2 = 37%, n = 495) but not for children (R2 = 10%). It is unlikely that the consumption of aflatoxin contaminated grain is a causative factor in the current level of malnutrition and stunting affecting Timor-Leste children.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2019

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Aflatoxins
Zea mays
Growth Disorders
Albumins
Timor-Leste
Arachis
Child Nutrition Disorders
Food
Poisons
Aspergillus
Malnutrition
Mothers

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de Almeida, Luis ; Williams, Robert ; Soares, Dirce M. ; Nesbitt, Harry ; Wright, Graeme ; Erskine, William. / Aflatoxin levels in maize and peanut and blood in women and children : The case of Timor-Leste. In: Scientific Reports. 2019 ; Vol. 9, No. 1.
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abstract = "Aflatoxins are toxic fungal metabolites produced by Aspergillus sp. with carcinogenic properties that are a common food contaminant of many crops including maize and peanuts. In Timor-Leste malnutrition and children's stunting are frequent and maize and peanuts are staple foods. This study aimed to provide information on aflatoxin exposure nationally. The study measured levels of aflatoxin in locally-produced maize and peanuts (296 samples) and of aflatoxin-albumin conjugate in blood samples of women and young children (514 and 620 respectively) across all municipalities. The average concentration of aflatoxin in the grain samples was low with most maize (88{\%}) and peanut (92{\%}) samples - lower than European Commission tolerated aflatoxin level. Although aflatoxin-albumin conjugate was detected in more than 80{\%} of blood samples, the average concentration in children and adults of 0.64 and 0.98 pg mg-1 alb, respectively, is much lower than in other similar rural-based countries. Although low in concentration, blood aflatoxin levels and aflatoxin contamination levels in maize across municipalities were correlated significantly for mothers (R2 = 37{\%}, n = 495) but not for children (R2 = 10{\%}). It is unlikely that the consumption of aflatoxin contaminated grain is a causative factor in the current level of malnutrition and stunting affecting Timor-Leste children.",
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Aflatoxin levels in maize and peanut and blood in women and children : The case of Timor-Leste. / de Almeida, Luis; Williams, Robert; Soares, Dirce M.; Nesbitt, Harry; Wright, Graeme; Erskine, William.

In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 9, No. 1, 11.09.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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