Combating Aflatoxin

The SolutionNew farming technologies developed and implemented

 Interventions 

  • First portable low-cost device developed for rapid detection of aflatoxins:  The compact mobile device is based on the lateral flow immunoassay test (popularly known as the strip test as used in a glucometer). The simple test can detect contamination at levels of 10 parts per billion (ppb) in less than 15 minutes. The kit is affordable at under US$ 2. 
  • An aflatoxin testing kit developed in-house uses a competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA) to rapidly detect the presence of aflatoxins. It has drastically reduced the cost of testing crops from USD 25 to USD 1 per sample
  • An aflatoxin testing laboratory in Zambia is currently operational and provides service to stakeholders
  • Good agricultural practices (GAPs) identified to reduce preand post-harvest aflatoxin contamination, such as the triple layer plastic bags based on “Purdue Improved Crop Storage” technology
  • Mapping aflatoxin exposure and its impact on nutrition and growth of children in Malawi and Tanzania.
 

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Impacts

  • ELISA testing kit: Used by The National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM) successfully, in conjunction with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)

  • Malawi regained its groundnut export to Europe. In just one area of Malawi, over 4,000 farmers are now exporting groundnuts to Europe under the fair trade agreement

  • Peanut butter processors in Zambia are testing their products. A company has started labelling its product as ‘tested for aflatoxins and safe for consumption’
  • The Zambia Bureau of Standards is establishing national standards for aflatoxin in peanut butter
  • Several resistant sources in groundnut have been identified in Africa and Asia
  • Result demonstrations (2013-15) in farmers’ fields showcasing a set of GAPs versus farmers’ practices showed 62-94% reduction in aflatoxin contamination in groundnut; increase in yield by around 30%, additional net income of around USD 25 per acre.

Aflatoxin Timeline

For more information, see videos:

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