Natural approaches for controlling aflatoxins in agriculture

Hsin Bai Yin, Anup Kollanoor-Johny, Kumar Venkitanarayanan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Aflatoxins (AF) are fungal toxic metabolites produced by Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus that frequently contaminate a variety of crops, including peanut, corns, and cottonseed. Aflatoxin contamination causes an estimated average economic loss of $1 billion annually to the US agriculture. Additionally, contamination of feed ingredients with AF is a major concern to animal agriculture due to their deleterious effects on livestock such as reduced animal performance and increased mortality. Moreover, the consumption of AF-contaminated animal products negatively affects public health due to their carcinogenic and hepatotoxiceffects. The common practices for detoxification of AF in crops include prolonged heating under pressure and the use of chemicals such as oxidizing agents and ammonia. However, nutrient losses associated with heat processing and public health safety concerns on chemical residues have limited the applicability of these methods. Moreover, the inclusion of AF-binding adsorbents in feed to protect livestock from the harmful effects of AF has been shown to impair nutrient utilization and mineral absorption in livestock. Thus, it is critical to develop effective strategies for controlling AF in crops, feed ingredients and livestock. Extensive studies have identified several natural plant- and animal-derived compounds exhibiting potent antifungal or antitoxigenic properties against toxin producing molds. This chapter highlights the potential of various natural approaches, including atoxigenic or probiotic microorganisms, phytochemicals, and organic compounds in reducing AF as well as the mechanisms behind their antitoxigenic effect. In addition, their potential application in controlling AF contamination at pre- and post-harvest stages of agriculture is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFocus on Aflatoxins Research
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages39
ISBN (Electronic)9781536125894
ISBN (Print)9781536125696
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


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