Effectiveness of hand sorting, flotation/washing, dehulling and combinations thereof on the decontamination of mycotoxin-contaminated white maize

Limbikani Matumba, Christof Van Poucke, Emmanuel Njumbe Ediage, Bart Jacobs, Sarah De Saeger

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-article


Maize is one of the major staple foods of Sub-Saharan Africa and is consumed as whole or dehulled grain. In this region, where the environmental conditions favour fungal growth and mycotoxin production, the majority of the population are subsistence consumers who, unfortunately, have little or no access to mycotoxin testing of their food. In an attempt to develop feasible reduction strategies in dietary mycotoxin exposure of the population, a three-factorial design experiment was conducted to examine and compare the efficacy of hand sorting, flotation, dehulling and combinations thereof in removing naturally occurring aflatoxins, fumonisins, nivalenol, deoxynivalenol and alternariol in shelled white maize. Regression analysis was used to determine the significant (p < 0.05) process variables on the removal of mycotoxins from the maize. Results from this experiment indicated that hand sorting had the greatest effect on mycotoxin removal, while flotation yielded the least effect. In particular hand sorting left < 6% of aflatoxin B1 and < 5% of fumonisin B1. Based on these results, hand sorting of maize grains is being recommended as a last line of defence against mycotoxin exposure among subsistence consumers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Additives & Contaminants. Part A, Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure & Risk Assessment
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)960-9
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Decontamination/methods
  • Food Contamination/analysis
  • Food Handling/methods
  • Mycotoxins/analysis
  • Regression Analysis
  • Zea mays/microbiology

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