CHARACTERIZATION AND APPLICATIONS OF CLAYS AND MINERALS IN MYCOTOXIN DETOXIFICATION AND ENVIRONMENT CONTROL
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Contamination of food and feedstuff by mycotoxins is a worldwide problem for corn, wheat, barley, oat, tree nuts, rice, peanut, sorghum, hay, fruits, and other crops. Detoxification of the mycotoxins through either adsorption or degradation as the last defending mechanism in preventing the adverse effects of the mycotoxins to humans and animals is still critical. This study is aimed to select and modify clays and layered double hydroxides to improve their binding efficiency for these five major agriculturally important mycotoxins. We also will tackle more practical challenges in the use of the clays and layered double hydroxide in removing or inactivating the mycotoxins in vitro (fermentation) and in vivo. The specific objectives are to: 1) Modify smectites to ensure the nanominerals' binding efficacy for aflatoxins in real corn fermentation solutions; 2) Modify smectites to improve the nanominerals' catalytic functions in degrading adsorbed aflatoxins in corn fermentation solutions; 3) Engineer smectites to detoxify aflatoxins in vivo at realistic toxin levels in broiler chickens; and 4) explore and modify clays and layered double hydroxides for binding fumonisin, ochratoxin A, deoxynivalenol, and zearalenone. Once implemented in practices, the adverse effects of the mycotoxins to animals and humans; and the economical losses of corn growers, biofuel industry, and animal industry can be minimized.Arsenic, zinc, lead, copper, nickel and many other heavy metals are the major concerns of acid mine drainage (AMD) resulting from the oxidation of sulfide minerals exposed to air. In theory, acid mine drainage and heavy metal contamination should not be problems in limestone areas due to the abundance of carbonate minerals that can neutralize the acidity. Poorly crystalline nanoparticles such as various iron oxides, silica, and the oxides of heavy metals are the most reactive compounds in regulating the heavy metals. Unfortunately, our knowledge on these reactive particles in the limestone environment or the liming reclamation areas is very limited due to the difficulties of characterization of these materials with common methods and instruments...........