Risk of dietary exposure to aflatoxins and fumonisins in infants less than 6 months of age in Rombo, Northern Tanzania

Happy Magoha, Martin Kimanya, Bruno De Meulenaer, Dominique Roberfroid, Carl Lachat, Patrick Kolsteren

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


    Infants less than 6 months of age receiving foods other than breast milk are at a high risk of exposure to mycotoxins. We surveyed food intake and estimated the risk of exposures to aflatoxin and fumonisin mycotoxins for infants less than 6 months of age in Northern Tanzania. A total of 143 infants were progressively recruited and three follow-up visits were made at 1, 3 and 5 months of age. A 24-h dietary recall technique was used to estimate flour intake of infants who had been introduced to maize foods. Aflatoxins and fumonisins in the flours were analysed using high-performance liquid chromatography technique. Exposure to aflatoxins or fumonisins was estimated using the deterministic approach. By the age of 3 months, 98 infants had started taking food; 67 of them, maize flours at levels ranging from 0.57 to 37.50 g per infant per day (average 8 g per infant per day). Fifty-eight per cent of 67 maize flour samples contained detectable aflatoxins (range 0.33-69.47 μg kg(-1) ; median 6 μg kg(-1) ) and 31% contained detectable fumonisins (range 48-1224 μg kg(-1) ; median 124 μg kg(-1) ). For infants who consumed contaminated flours, aflatoxin exposure ranged from 0.14 to 120 ng kg(-1) body weight (BW) per day (all above the health concern level of 0.017 ng kg(-1) BW per day as recommended by the European Food Safety Agency) and fumonisin exposure ranged from 0.005 to 0.88 μg kg(-1) BW per day. Insignificant association was observed between exposure to fumonisins or aflatoxins and stunting or underweight. Reducing aflatoxin and fumonisin contamination of maize and dietary diversification can prevent infants and the public, in general, from exposure to the toxins.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalMaternal and Child Nutrition
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)516-527
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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