by Alexander Loladze and Carolyn Cowan
Maize ear infected with Aspergillus flavus. Photo: Maize Pathology Laboratory/CIMMYT
A novel approach allows the detection of aflatoxin-producing fungi in maize fields. A new study explains the technique and how it was tested. “Detection of Aflatoxigenic and Atoxigenic Mexican Aspergillus Strains by the Dichlorvos–Ammonia (DV–AM) Method” was developed in collaboration between scientists from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the Japanese National Agriculture and Food Organization (NARO) and Fukui University of Technology, funded in part by the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE).
Flashback: In early 2015, Kenya’s National Irrigation Board (NIB) purchased Aflasafe to help deal with aflatoxin contamination in maize, a predicament afflicting some of its irrigation schemes. For example, in most years, the UN’s World Food Programme was unable to purchase maize from the towns of Hola and Bura in Kenya owing to excessive aflatoxin. Fastforward to 2017: What were the results of this NIB purchase then, and today, two years on? Read on!
It’s blowing in the wind. Follow Sarah Chughu’s ‘pointing’ finger. See the tiny specks in the clouds on the left? That’s Aflasafe KE01 which Sarah was broadcasting at Galana-Kulalu, Eastern Kenya, in July 2016. An all-natural product, Aflasafe consistently reduces aflatoxin by between 80 and 99% at harvest and in storage. (Photo: U Mutuku/IITA)
Aflatoxin in food was among the prominent issues discussed at the recent First All-Africa Postharvest Congress and Exhibition held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 28th to 31st March 2017. The Congress attracted about 600 participants from 22 countries including outside Africa. Its theme was Reducing food waste and losses: sustainable solutions for Africa. Two African staples – groundnuts and maize – are particularly aflatoxin-prone.