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Joint Publications

Food fermentation and mycotoxin detoxification: An African perspective

Published 22 June 2019, by Adebiyi, J.A., Kayitesi, E., Adebo, O.A., Changwa, R. and Njobeh, P.B.

Publication: Elsevier

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2019.106731

Mycotoxins are toxigenic fungal secondary metabolites and known carcinogens that pose a significant threat to economies, trade, health and compromises food safety. Favourable environmental conditions on the African continent encourage the proliferation of fungal species, increasing the possibility of attendant mycotoxins to be present in foods, a situation that aggravates challenges to address them. Due to the susceptibility of common food crops to these toxins and the general inability of some conventional food processes to eliminate them, they are found in derived/processed foods. Detoxification and reduction of mycotoxins in the food chain still remains a significant topic necessitating a sustainable, affordable and effective strategy for mycotoxin control. Fermentation of food confers desirable properties and improves food quality. This food processing technique is also a notable inexpensive mycotoxin decontamination strategy that can be explored not only to improve the constituents in food, but equally reduce and at best eliminate mycotoxins. In the absence of sophisticated monitoring and prevention mechanisms in Africa, exploiting fermentation would be vital in improving nutrition and ensuring food safety. While this processing technique generally favours mycotoxin reduction, preventing the occurrence of these toxins in crops, effective handling and storage practices before fermentation may ensure complete prevention of the heinous effect of these toxins on human health.

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