University of Cape Town, South Africa
Posters & Accepted Abstracts: Virol Mycol
Food spoilage and poisoning pathogens lead to pre- and post-harvest losses of crop produce and feed stuff leading to food insecurity and safety worldwide. Aflatoxins are fungal toxins derived from some strains of Aspergillus flavus. Kenya has experienced worst outbreak of aflatoxin poisoning where 317 cases and 215 deaths reported. This problem appears endemic to certain Kenyan regions as every year cases are reported. The Maize kernels were collected from high and low risk aflatoxicosis regions, surface sterilized and plated on potato dextrose agar. The 37 isolated Aspergillus flavus strains were identified to species level using morphological, anatomical and molecular characteristics based on ITS 1 and ITS 2 molecular marker. Mycotoxin detection by CAM under UV light (365 nm) revealed blue fluorescence (57%, n=21) and (43%, n=16) green. Our findings were further validated through advanced metabolomics fingerprinting approaches (TLC, HPLC and LC-MS/MS) and vegetative compatibility groupings (VCGs). We concluded that strains from Makueni (78%, n=7) might be producers of aflatoxin AFB1, AFB2, the most potent mycotoxins. This could be so far a reason why there has been high risk of constant aflatoxicosis in Makueni as compared to other three study counties.
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