Research at UAF - Protection of cereal grains against aflatoxin contamination using plant materials
Principal Investigator: Dr. Bushra Sultana,
Telephone: 041-9200161-67, Ext. 3309 Fax: # 041-9200764
CO-principal Investigators
Dr. Muhammad Shahid Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan
Telephone: 041-9200161-67, Ext. 3309
Fax: # 041-9200764
Dr. Abdul-Rehman Department of Plant Pathology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan
Telephone: 0419200161-2940 [Off.]
Duration: Two years
Cost: 2.541159/- million
Funding Agency: HEC

Progress Reports

Aflatoxins are naturally occurring toxins which grow on many food crops under favourable conditions. The major types of aflatoxins are B1, B2, G1, G2, and M1 with aflatoxin B1 being the most toxic (Leontopoulos et al., 2003). Various epidemiological, clinical and experimental studies revealed that aflatoxins are more toxic to mammals. These toxins having hepatotoxic, teratogenic, and mutagenic properties cause a number of health disorders including hepatitis, edema, immunosupression, and hepatocarcinoma. Beside the negative impact of aflatoxins on the health of human and animals, aflatoxins also have adverse impact on agriculture economy of the country via loss of crop production, time and cost involved in monitoring their limiting value i.e. 20 ppb as imposed by FAO and WHO.  Aflatoxins have been identified in a range of food commodities from various parts of the world. Numerous strategies both physical and chemical for their control have been proposed, however, due to safety concern and potential toxicity of the chemicals researchers are seeking for cost effective and non-toxic alternates of plant origins to prevent fungal deterioration of grain crops. Wheat, rice, corn, cottonseed are major economically valuable crops. A part of these and many other crops get exhausted and rejected at the port due to aflatoxin contamination and thus can not be commercialized.  Therefore, this research project has been planned to control the aflatoxins contamination in food crops during storage using a variety of plant materials, and a step in continuation to safe the economy of Pakistan and also for good consumer health. The generated data will be highly effective to meet the changes of WTO to show the problem and also a contributing factor in the management of these toxins.
 Problem stated
Aflatoxins contamination is unavoidable, numerous strategies both physical and chemical for their detoxification have been proposed. Although chemical methods are more effective than physical one however, these are potentially unsafe due to formation of toxic residues having negative effects on organoleptic properties of products.
Pakistan is an agrarian country. Wheat, rice, corn, cottonseed are its major and economically important crops. These and many other crops are susceptible to aflatoxin contamination. The contaminated grains are unacceptable for edible, commercial and trade purposes. This project is a step for control of aflatoxins in cereal grains so as to retain better nutritive values and thus leading to value addition and to saving the country economy.
1.         Exploration of plant extract having antioxidant and antifungal potential to control the aflatoxin contamination in cereal grains of Pakistan, without involving the use of chemicals.
2.         Optimization of extraction procedure (solvent and extraction technique) for recovery of potent antioxidant and antifungal components from plant materials.
 3.        Evaluation of antioxidant and antifungal activities of various plant extracts.
 4.        Characterization of antioxidant/antifungal components by HPLC and GC-MS.
 5.        Isolation, purification and identification of fungal strains.
 6.        Contamination of cereal grains with fungal strains and stabilization of cereal grains using dried plant-based powder material.
 7.        Extraction,   preconcentration and HPLC analysis of aflatoxin from stabilized cereal grain samples and   comparison with control (having no treatment with plant material) samples.
 Results and Discussion:   Project just initiated
 Conclusion: Project just initiated
 Recommendation:      NA