aflatoxin and chillies

Chuck Miller rellim at tulane.edu
Fri May 3 14:06:30 EST 2002


The aflatoxins are toxic/carcinogenic compounds that are produced by fungi
that grow on various foods. If foods receive proper care during harvesting,
drying, processing, etc., they will not have fungal growth and will not have
aflatoxins. Here are some abstracts....

Mycopathologia 2000 Jan;149(1):13-9
Mycoflora and mycotoxins in Brazilian black pepper, white pepper and Brazil
Freire FC, Kozakiewicz Z, Paterson RR.
Centro Nacional de Pesquisa de Agroindustria Tropical, C.P. 60.511-110,
Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil. freire at cnpat.embrapa.br
A wide range of field and storage fungi were isolated from black pepper,
white pepper and Brazil nut kernels from Amazonia. A total of 42 species
were isolated from both peppers. Aspergillus flavus and A. niger were
isolated more frequently from black than from white pepper. Other potential
mycotoxigenic species isolated included: A. ochraceus, A. tamarii, A.
versicolor, Emericella nidulans and Chaetomium globosum, Penicillium
brevicompactum, P. citrinum, P. islandicum and P. glabrum. Species isolated
from pepper for the first time were Acrogenospora sphaerocephala,
Cylindrocarpon lichenicola, Lacellinopsis sacchari, Microascus cinereus,
Petriella setifera and Sporormiella minima. Seventeen species were isolated
from Brazil nut kernels. A. flavus was the dominant species followed by A.
niger. P. citrinum and P. glabrum were the only penicillia isolated. Species
isolated for the first time included Acremonium curvulum, Cunninghamella
elegans, Exophiala sp., Fusarium oxysporum, Pseudoallescheria boydii,
Rhizopus oryzae, Scopulariopsis sp., Thielavia terricola and Trichoderma
citrinoviride. Considerably more metabolites were detected from black than
white pepper in qualitative analyses. Chaetocin, penitrem A, and
xanthocillin were identified only from black pepper, and tenuazonic acid was
identified from both black and white pepper. Aflatoxin G2, chaetoglobosin C,
and spinulosin were identified from poor quality brazil nuts. Aflatoxin B1
and B2 were also only detected in poor quality brazil nuts at concentrations
of 27.1 micrograms kg-1 and 2.1 micrograms kg-1 respectively (total 29.2
micrograms kg-1).

J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol 1997;16(1):61-5
Growth and toxigenesis of Aspergillus flavus isolates on selected spices.
Bartine H, Tantaoui-Elaraki A.
Institut Agronomique et Veterinaire Hassan II, Ecole doctorale, B.P.
6202-Institute, Rabat, Morocco.
None of the four Aspergillus flavus isolates studied was able to grow on wet
cinnamon (5 g cinnamon + 3.3 mL distilled water) at 25 degrees C over 30
days. Fungal growth was weak on the curcumin, black pepper, and white
pepper; good, but lower than on rice control, on the cumin and ginger; and
similar to the control on sweet and hot paprika. No aflatoxin was detected
in black or white pepper after 10 days at 25 degrees C. Cumin least
inhibited aflatoxin synthesis, followed by hot paprika, cumin, sweet
paprika, and ginger. The amount of aflatoxin detected in the spices at the
end of the incubation period never exceeded 6.25% of that found in the rice

Food Addit Contam 2001 Apr;18(4):315-9
Aflatoxins in spices marketed in Portugal.
Martins ML, Martins HM, Bernardo F.
Laboratorio Nacional de Investigacao Veterinaria-Departamento de Higiene
Publica-Micologia, Estrada de Benfica, Lisbon, Portiugal.
ligia.martins at Iniv.min-agricultura.pt
Seventy-nine prepackaged samples of 12 different types of spice powders
(five cardamom, five cayenne pepper, eight chilli, five cloves, seven cumin,
five curry) powder, five ginger, five mustard, 10 nutmeg, 12 paprika, five
saffron and seven white pepper) were selected from supermarkets and ethnic
shops in Lisbon (Portugal) for estimation of aflatoxins by immunoaffinity
column clean-up followed by HPLC. Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) was detected in 34
samples of prepackaged spices (43.0%). All of the cayenne pepper samples
were contaminated with levels ranging from 2 to 32 microg AFB1/kg. Three
nutmeg samples contained levels ranging from 1 to 5 microg/kg, three samples
had levels ranging from 6 to 20 microg/kg, and there were two with 54
microg/kg and 58 microg/ kg. Paprika contained levels of aflatoxin B1
ranging from 1 to 20 microg/kg. Chilli, cumin, curry powder, saffron and
white pepper samples had levels ranging from 1 to 5 microg/kg. Aflotoxins
were not detected in cardamon, cloves, ginger and mustard. None of the
samples analysed contained aflatoxins B2, G1 and G2.

Best wishes,

Chuck Miller

"They're always havin' a good time down on the bayou..."
("Ramblin' Man" by Dickey Betts from the album BROTHERS AND SISTERS by the
Allman Bros. Band, 1973)
Dr. Charles A. Miller III
Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences
374 Johnston Building, SL29
Tulane Univ. School of Public health and Tropical Medicine
1430 Tulane Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504)585-6942, rellim at tulane.edu
Bionet.toxicology news group http://www.bio.net/hypermail/toxicology/current


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