Preventing mycotoxin contamination in groundnut cultivation

  • Authors: David Jordan, Rick Brandenburg and Gary Payne, North Carolina State University, USA; David Hoisington, Nick Magnan and James Rhoads, The University of Georgia, USA; Mumuni Abudulai, Savanna Agricultural Research Institute, Ghana; Koushik Adhikari and Jinru Chen, The University of Georgia, USA; Richard Akromah, William Appaw and William Ellis, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana; Maria Balota and Kumar Mallikarjunan, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA; Kenneth Boote and Greg MacDonald, University of Florida, USA; Kira Bowen, Auburn University, USA; Boris Bravo-Ureta and Jeremy Jelliffe, University of Connecticut, USA; Agnes Budu, University of Ghana, Ghana; Hendrix Chalwe, Alice Mweetwa and Munsanda Ngulube, University of Zambia, Zambia; Awere Dankyi and Brandford Mochia, Crops Research Institute, Ghana; Vivian Hoffmann, International Food Policy Research Institute, USA; Amade Muitia, Mozambique Institute of Agricultural Research, Mozambique; Agnes Mwangwela, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Malawi; Sam Njoroge, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) (ICRISAT), Malawi; David Okello, National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI), Uganda; and Nelson Opoku, University for Development Studies, Ghana
  • Publication Type: Chapter
  • Date:


Mycotoxins have a substantial negative impact on human and livestock health around the world. Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, both capable of producing aflatoxins, are distributed widely in crops and can contaminate produce in the field and during storage and transport, as well as food products consumed directly by humans (Wu and Guclu, 2012). Secondary metabolites of toxigenic A. flavus and A. parasiticus are carcinogenic and adversely affect liver function (CAST, 2003; IARC, 1993; Wild et al., 2015). The impact of consumption of aflatoxins is especially severe in infants and children (CAST, 2003; Gong et al., 2002; Wild and Gong, 2010; Williams et al., 2004). It has been estimated that at least 25% of agricultural commodities in the world are contaminated by
mycotoxins (Charmly et al., 1994; Payne, 2016). As many as 5 billion people in developing countries are estimated to be exposed on a consistent basis to aflatoxin levels that are considered dangerous to human health (Jolly et al., 2008; Strosnider et al., 2006; Williams et al., 2004). More recently, exposure to aflatoxins and other mycotoxins prior to and during pregnancy has been linked to stunting at birth (IARC, 2015). Minimizing the exposure of humans to aflatoxin is the goal of a number of health and agricultural initiatives and partnerships among public and private sectors around the world. This particular contaminant, derived from biological organisms, requires interventions across components of crop value chains and research and extension expertise across multiple disciplines.
In-depth reviews related to mycotoxins and their impact on human health (Jelinek et al., 1989; Kensler et al., 2011; Payne, 2016; Rai and Varma, 2010; Shepard, 2008; Wild and Gong, 2010; Williams et al., 2004), management in the field and in storage (Torres et al.,
2014; Waliyar, 1997; Waliyar et al., 2013), and approaches that incentivize all segments of food systems from production of raw agricultural products through processing and marketing (Pitt et al., 2013) are available elsewhere. The goal of this chapter is to describe factors that affect growth of A. flavus and A. parasiticus, models predicting contamination, cultural and biological control measures designed to minimize contamination, challenges associated with research and quantification of aflatoxin, and three case studies from current value chain projects in Ghana, Haiti and Malawi with peanut (groundnut, Arachis hypogaea L.). This chapter will demonstrate the need for a more focused and concerted effort to address the issue of aflatoxin contamination in peanut

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