Natural Products for Preventing and Controlling Aflatoxin Contamination of Food

Published: August 30, 2017

Abstract: Aflatoxins are the most potent naturally occurring toxin and liver carcinogens known and their contamination of food is a significant risk factor for human health. Conventional chemical and physical approaches have been insufficient to eliminate aflatoxins from food, and the application of synthetic compounds can give rise to notable drug resistance and serious environmental and health problems. Awareness of these problems has led to an urgent need to identify safer alternative strategies.

There are various natural compounds that influence aflatoxin contamination of food in different ways, including by inhibiting the growth of aflatoxigenic fungi, blocking aflatoxin biosynthesis, and removing or degrading aflatoxins. These inhibitors, many of which have shown great potentials for the control of aflatoxin contamination, have great promise for the development of new approaches to combatting aflatoxin contamination, and are capable of replacing or complementing conventional strategies.

While more and more natural inhibitors are being identified, the modes of action of most of these are poorly understood. Further studies are necessary to better understand the mechanism of action of these compounds before their widespread commercial use. The objective of this chapter is to present the results of studies of the control of aflatoxin contamination using natural products.