Toxins, Vol. 15, Pages 257: Aflatoxin Contamination, Exposure among Rural Smallholder Farming Tanzanian Mothers and Associations with Growth among Their Children
Toxins doi: 10.3390/toxins15040257
Authors: Wanjiku N. Gichohi-Wainaina Martin Kimanya Yasinta C. Muzanila Nelson C. Kumwenda Harry Msere Mariam Rashidi Omari Mponda Patrick Okori
Recently, aflatoxin exposure especially through maize and groundnuts has been associated with growth impairment in children. Infants and children are considered to be more susceptible to toxins because of their lower body weight, higher metabolic rate, and lower ability to detoxify. On the other hand, for women of reproductive age, aflatoxin exposure may not only affect their health but also that of their foetus in the case of pregnancy. This study focused on investigating AFB1 contamination in maize and groundnut from respondent households, exposure among women of reproductive age and associations of aflatoxin contamination with growth retardation among children in Mtwara region, Tanzania. The highest maximum AFB1 contamination levels from all samples obtained were in maize grain (2351.5 &mu;g/kg). From a total of 217 maize samples collected, aflatoxins were above European Union (EU) and East African Community (EAC) tolerable limits in 76.0% and 64.5% of all samples. Specifically, maize grain had the highest proportion of samples contaminated above tolerable limits (80.3% and 71.1% for EU and EAC limits). Groundnut had 54.0% and 37.9% of samples above EU and EAC maximum tolerable limits. The lowest proportion of contaminated samples on the other hand was for bambara nut (37.5% and 29.2% for EU and EAC limits, respectively). Aflatoxin exposure in our surveyed population was much higher than previous observations made in Tanzania and also higher than those observed in Western countries such as Australia and the USA. Among children, AFB1 concentration was associated with lower weight for height z scores and weight for age z scores in the univariate model (p &lt; 0.05). In summary, these results indicate the seriousness of aflatoxin contamination in foods commonly consumed in the vulnerable population assessed. Strategies both from the health, trade, and nutrition sectors should therefore be designed and implemented to address aflatoxin and mycotoxin contamination in diets.