Texas A&M University
University of Alabama, University of Georgia (US); University of Science & Technology - Kumasi, Noguchi Memorial Medical Research Institute (Ghana)
Pauline Jolly, Jia-Sheng Wang
Aflatoxins (AFs) are harmful by-products of mold growth that can be fatal to humans and animals. The problem is longstanding, unavoidable and seemingly inextricable. A recent outbreak of AF poisoning in Kenya resulted in a 39% case fatality rate and was linked to consumption of foods containing AF levels as high as 8,000 ppb (CDC 2004). The poorest people in developing countries, who are most likely to consume foods contaminated with AFs, suffer the most severe effects including disease (aflatoxicosis) and even death following acute exposure (Lewis et al. 2005). Additionally, it is estimated that more than 80% of all hepatocellular cancer cases occur in developing countries (Wild and Hall 2000). Studies also suggest that low level exposure to AFs can cause immunosuppression and increased susceptibility to disease (Turner et al. 2003; Jiang et al. 2005). Other consequences of exposure include severe growth faltering and antinutritional effects (Hinton et al. 2003; Gong et al. 2002, 2004; Turner et al. 2007). Thus, feasible interventions and therapies to diminish human exposure to AFs are imperative. In this proposal, studies will provide an innovative and culturally acceptable strategy that will improve aflatoxicosis prevention and management in high risk populations (Ghana, etc.) by utilizing NS clay (i.e., capsules, tablets, powder, or food additives) to reduce human exposure and disease.