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Community Talk: 26 October 2022 at 11 am (CET)

Mycotoxins an insidious problem for human health in Northern Uganda

Mycotoxins are fungal metabolites produced by some species of fungi. Exposure to these fungal metabolites can cause failure of the liver, brain, kidney, reproductive organs, endocrine organs, and immune systems. Acute exposure to a high-level of mycotoxin such as aflatoxin can results into death. In sub-Saharan Africa, exposure to mycotoxins is perennial  Poor pre-harvest and post-harvest activities among farmers catalyse mycotoxins contamination of food. In this study, food samples were collected from households in northern Uganda and were evaluated for mycotoxin contamination.

Overall, the study indicates a high prevalence of mycotoxins in all the staple foods (Groundnut, Maize, millet, and Sorghum). Only 7% of the household foods collected were not contaminated with any mycotoxins. Fumonisins were the most frequently detected mycotoxins followed by aflatoxin and then ochratoxin. Among the four food types analyzed, sorghum was the most susceptible to contamination mycotoxins. Meanwhile, contamination with all the four mycotoxins was generally low in millet. Most of the food samples were contaminated with multiple mycotoxins and the frequency of occurrence varies with food types. The mycotoxins exposure results indicate that most people who rely on these staple foods frequently get exposed to multiple mycotoxins in their diet at level above recommended tolerable daily intake.


- Prof. Geert Haesaert, Ghent University, faculty of bio-engineering.

- Prof Richard Echodu, Associate Professor; Molecular Biology/Genetics and Director, Multifunctional Research Laboratories, Gulu University  

- MS Godfrey Wokorach, PhD student, Gulu University

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