Fingani A. Mphande; Bupe A. Siame; Joanne E. Taylor
Type of Document:
Journal of Food Protection
Date of Publication:
Place of Publication:
Abstract: Peanuts are important food commodities, but they are susceptible to fungal infestation and mycotoxin contamination. Raw peanuts were purchased from retail outlets in Botswana and examined for fungi and mycotoxin (aflatoxins and cyclopiazonic acid) contamination. Zygomycetes were the most common fungi isolated; they accounted for 41% of all the isolates and were found on 98% of the peanut samples. Among the Zygomycetes, Absidia corymbifera and Rhizopus stolonifer were the most common. Aspergillus spp. accounted for 35% of all the isolates, with Aspergillus niger being the most prevalent (20.4%). Aspergillus flavus/parasiticus were also present and accounted for 8.5% of all the isolates, with A. flavus accounting for the majority of the A. flavus/parasiticus identified. Of the 32 isolates of A. flavus screened for mycotoxin production, 11 did not produce detectable aflatoxins, 8 produced only aflatoxins B1 and B2, and 13 produced all four aflatoxins (B1, B2, G1, and G2) in varying amounts. Only 6 of the A. flavus isolates produced cyclopiazonic acid at concentrations ranging from 1 to 55 g/ kg. The one A. parasiticus isolate screened also produced all the four aflatoxins (1,200 g/kg) but did not produce cyclopiazonic acid. When the raw peanut samples (n = 120) were analyzed for total aflatoxins, 78% contained aflatoxins at concentrations ranging from 12 to 329 g/kg. Many of the samples (49%) contained total aflatoxins at concentrations above the 20 g/kg limit set by the World Health Organization. Only 21% (n = 83) of the samples contained cyclopiazonic acid with concentrations ranging from 1 to 10 g/kg. The results show that mycotoxins and toxigenic fungi are common contaminants of peanuts sold at retail in Botswana.