The participants of this Second Aflatoxin Biocontrol Workers’ Network Workshop focused on progress made in rolling out Aflasafe, an effective and safe biological control product which reduces the prevalence of aflatoxins in treated maize and groundnut by 80 – 99% from farm to fork.
“The workshop participants took stock of the current status of aflasafe development in various countries, discuss research protocols, and provide a platform to network and understand each other’s work. The result will be a shared understanding of the needs for future developments of biocontrol in Africa,” Dr Ranajit Bandyopadhyay, Senior Plant Pathologist, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)- Nigeria, and team leader of IITA’s aflasafe projects.
“Biological control products such as Aflasafe provide farmers with a safe, simple solution that protects their crops on the farm and in storage saving them a long list of tasks to carry out to prevent their crops from being contaminated with aflatoxins,” Prof Peter Cotty, a Research Plant Pathologist at USDA-ARS
All Africa 19/07 Africa: Experts Meet to Tackle Killer Fungi in African Food Crops
Daily Nation 16/07 Experts meet to discuss how to tackle aflatoxin
A 3-year comprehensive analysis of aflatoxin contamination in peanut butter was conducted in Zambia, sub-Saharan Africa. The study analyzed 954 containers of 24 local and imported peanut butter brands collected from shops in Chipata, Mambwe, Petauke, Katete, and Nyimba districts and also in Lusaka from 2012 to 2014. For analysis, a sample included six containers of a single brand, from the same processing batch number and the same shop. Each container was quantitatively analyzed for aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) in six replicates by using competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; thus, aflatoxin contamination level of a given sample was derived from an average of 36 test values. Results showed that 73% of the brands tested in 2012 were contaminated with AFB1 levels >20 μg/kg and ranged up to 130 μg/kg. In 2013, 80% of the brands were contaminated with AFB1 levels >20 μg/kg and ranged up to 10,740 μg/kg. Compared with brand data from 2012 and 2013, fewer brands in 2014, i.e., 53%, had aflatoxin B1 levels >20 μg/kg and ranged up to 1,000 μg/kg. Of the eight brands tested repeatedly across the 3-year period, none consistently averaged ≤20 μg/kg. Our survey clearly demonstrates the regular occurrence of high levels of AF B1 in peanut butter in Zambia. Considering that some of the brands tested originated from neighboring countries such as Malawi, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, the current findings provide a sub-Saharan regional perspective regarding the safety of peanut butter.