Combating Aflatoxin

According to the FAO, 25% of all crops are affected by aflatoxins. When consumed they can affect the absorption of other nutrients, causing malnutrition. Countries in Africa have lost their export markets due to it. New sources of resistance, novel screening methods and good agricultural practices can cut down contamination.


  • First portable low-cost rapid aflatoxin detection device developed; mobile sample extraction kit to be ready soon
  • An aflatoxin testing kit developed in-house uses a competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA) to rapidly detect the presence of aflatoxins
  •  An aflatoxin testing laboratory in Zambia is currently operational and provides service to stakeholders
  • Good agricultural practices (GAPs) identified to reduce pre- and post-harvest aflatoxin contamination
  • Mapping aflatoxin exposure and its impact on nutrition and growth of children in Malawi and Tanzania


  • 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.

Food safety / health: Blue sky research – could have great potential impact in the future

Biotechnology research breakthrough after years of research to combat aflatoxin, a very important food safety issue in developing countries: An article about this research and an infographic are available.

(This blue sky research could go under CRP A4NH; several private sector and national agricultural research institutes interested in pursuing this biotechnology approach to explore possibility to incorporate this new aflatoxin resistance genetic variability in groundnut breeding programs)


For more information, see videos:

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