Prevalence of aflatoxin contamination in groundnuts in Pune city

Manasi Shailesh Deshmukh, Varsha Mahesh Vaidya


Background: Aflatoxin contamination in groundnuts is caused by the fungi Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. In this study, the prevalence of aflatoxin B1 in groundnuts has been assessed. Aflatoxins are highly carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic. They are known to cause hepatocellular toxicity. The aim of the study is to estimate prevalence of aflatoxin contamination in groundnuts sold in the city of Pune and to assess the awareness about aflatoxin contamination amongst shopkeepers of selected shops/vendors.

Methods: Sampling of groundnuts was conducted in 17 out of 144 administrative wards of Pune city. Hundred samples weighing 250g each were purchased from the randomly selected stores and transported in black polythene bags to The State Public Health Laboratory, Pune. Thin layer chromatography (TLC) was used by the laboratory to determine levels of aflatoxin B1. A pre-structured questionnaire was used for assessment of knowledge of aflatoxin contamination amongst vendors.

Results: Out of 100 samples, four samples were contaminated with aflatoxin. However the maximum contamination was 0.6 parts per billion, which is well within the permissible limit of 30 parts per billion. Awareness of aflatoxin contamination amongst vendors was six percent. Ninety four percent of vendors were unaware of the concept of aflatoxin contamination.

Conclusions: It is necessary to educate vendors, suppliers and handlers about the health hazards caused by this toxic fungus for the benefit of the average consumer.



Aflatoxin, Groundnuts, Pune, Contaminatoin

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