Aflatoxin contamination in groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.); its causes and management
Groundnut is a very important legume that is recognized worldwide for its benefits. It is grown in over 100 countries. The nutritional benefits such as its provision of important vitamins cannot be overemphasized. However, the production, marketing and consumption of groundnut is threatened by mycotoxins with aflatoxin being the major. Aflatoxin is produced by a difficult to control, complex pathogen, spergillus species that contaminate groundnut with this mycotoxin both in the field and during storage especially Aspergillus flavus which is the most common in nature. The response of moisture, temperature and even soil type all influence the proliferation of this pathogen and its subsequent aflatoxin contamination. In view of the many health challenges that this mycotoxin poses to humans and animal, various control measures involving biological, use of resistant groundnut genotypes, chemical strategies and physical separation have been proposed to be a remedy to this global issue.
Keywords: Mycotoxin, Aflatoxin, Aspergillus flavus, Health hazards, Groundnut.
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