Aflatoxins

“Imported” Toxins

Aflatoxins are synthesised only by certain strains of Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus during storage. The group of aflatoxins comprises more than 20 different toxins, but the main contaminants in foods of plant origin are aflatoxin B1, B2, G1 and G2. Aflatoxin M1 is present in milk and dairy products only. It is metabolised as a result of a detoxification respectively hydroxy­lation reaction. It can be found in milk of lactating animals and women if they have ingested food or feed contaminated with aflatoxin B1. To synthesise the toxins the fungi need temperatures between 25 and 40 °C. This is the reason why these toxins occur mainly in tropical and subtropical regions. Therefore imported products like peanuts, almonds or pistachios, poppy seeds, rice, maize, millet or field beans, spices and dried fruits are typical contaminated matrices in Europe.

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