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Safeguarding Groundnuts from Contamination
Saturday, 2024/06/15 | 06:03:55

ICRISAT New; June 7 2024

 

This World Food Safety Day, 7 June 2024, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) sheds light on the health risks of aflatoxin contamination. In line with this year's theme, "Prepare for the Unexpected," the organization underscores successful farm-level interventions to tackle this issue.

 

Groundnut kernels, prized for their oil content, are a nutritional powerhouse, rich in protein, antioxidants, essential minerals, and vitamins, and a staple in diets worldwide. Developing countries produce nearly 95% of the world's groundnuts, with India and China contributing the majority. Other key producers include Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, and Argentina (FAO,2022).

Aflatoxin's Impact on Human Health

The aflatoxin-producing strains that commonly infect groundnuts are Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified them as Group 1 carcinogens, a proven human carcinogen, based on their toxicity and prevalence in milk.

 

Drinking milk from dairy animals that have eaten feed contaminated with aflatoxin can increase the risk of cancer. This is a significant food safety concern globally.

 

ICRISAT's Solutions

  • cELISA Detection Kit: This affordable, fast, and simple test kit reduces testing costs from $25 to $1 per sample, delivering results comparable to high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) tests. It can analyze up to 200 samples daily, even in remote areas, and has helped the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM) regain the European groundnut export market. The kit is also used in Mali, Niger, and Nigeria.
  • Comprehensive Guide: The publication "How to Reduce Aflatoxin Contamination in Groundnuts and Maize: A Guide for Extension Workers" helps farming communities in Malawi and similar regions worldwide.
  • Hermetic Storage: ICRISAT's study on triple-layer Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) bags shows that they protect groundnut pods from quality deterioration, pest damage, and contamination by aflatoxin.

 

See https://pressroom.icrisat.org/safeguarding-groundnuts-from-contamination

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