Common African cooking processes do not affect the aflatoxin binding efficacy of refined calcium montmorillonite clay Academic Article uri icon


  • Aflatoxins are common contaminants of staple crops, such as corn and groundnuts, and a significant cause of concern for food safety and public health in developing countries. Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) has been implicated in the etiology of acute and chronic disease in humans and animals, including growth stunting, liver cancer and death. Cost effective and culturally acceptable intervention strategies for the reduction of dietary AFB1 exposure are of critical need in populations at high risk for aflatoxicosis. Fermented gruels consisting of cornmeal are a common source for such exposure and are consumed by both children and adults in many countries with a history of frequent, high-level aflatoxin exposure. One proposed method to reduce aflatoxins in the diet is to include a selective enterosorbent, Uniform Particle Size NovaSil (UPSN), as a food additive in contaminated foods. For UPSN to be effective in this capacity, it must be stable in complex, acidic mixtures that are often exposed to heat during the process of fermented gruel preparation. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to test the ability of UPSN to sorb aflatoxin while common cooking conditions were applied. The influence of fermentation, heat treatment, acidity, and processing time were investigated with and without UPSN. Analyses were performed using the field-practical Vicam assay with HPLC verification of trends. Our findings demonstrated that UPSN significantly reduced aflatoxin levels (47-100%) in cornmeal, regardless of processing conditions. Upon comparison of each element tested, time appeared to be the primary factor influencing UPSN efficacy. The greatest decreases in AFB1 were reported in samples allowed to incubate (with or without fermentation) for 72 hrs. This data suggests that addition of UPSN to staple corn ingredients likely to contain aflatoxins would be a sustainable approach to reduce exposure.

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Elmore, S. E., Mitchell, N., Mays, T., Brown, K., Marroquin-Cardona, A., Romoser, A., & Phillips, T. D.

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Elmore, Sarah E||Mitchell, Nicole||Mays, Travis||Brown, Kristal||Marroquin-Cardona, Alicia||Romoser, Amelia||Phillips, Timothy D

publication date

  • March 2014