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Handling and aflatoxin contamination of white maize in Costa Rica



Handling and aflatoxin contamination of white maize in Costa Rica



Mycopathologia 138(2): 77-89



Projects funded by International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada and the European Commission have enabled the examination of more than 3000 samples of maize collected from all regions of Costa Rica at different stages, from the growing crop through storage to final sale, and at different water contents. Contamination with Aspergillus flavus was frequent and about 80% of samples contained more than 20 ng aflatoxins g(-1) grain. Average contamination with aflatoxins in the Brunca Region was > 274 ng g(-1) while that in other regions was < 70 ng g(-1). Except in Brunca region, where it averaged 376 ng g(-1), contamination of grain from commercial sources was slightly less than of that from farms (< or = 15 ng g(-1)). It appeared that samples kept on the cob after harvest contained almost no aflatoxin while shelled samples were frequently highly contaminated. Experiments were therefore done in Brunca and Huetar Atlantic Regions, utilising 34 experimental maize crops to study in detail the development of A. flavus and aflatoxin from before harvest, through postharvest treatment before drying and through storage for six months. A. flavus was isolated more frequently from maize shelled immediately after harvest than from that kept on the cob until it could be dried, and from more samples from the Brunca Region than from the Huetar Atlantic Region. Samples harvested with > or = 18% water content often contains > 70% of grains infected with A. flavus but sometimes there were few grains infected. As found in the initial survey, more aflatoxin contamination developed in shelled maize than in that handled on the cob during the period from harvesting to drying, especially if the delay was more than 5 days, and more in Brunca than in Huetar. Shelled grain contained 400-800 ng aflatoxin g(-1) in Brunca but < 100 ng g(-1) in Huetar while grain kept on the cob contained < 30 ng g(-1), even with > 18% water content. Incidence of Fusarium spp. exceeded 50% except where A. flavus colonized more than 80% of grains.

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Accession: 046211365

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 9454095

DOI: 10.1023/a:1006818822013


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