Sunflower seeds source of aflatoxin
By Michigan State University
Michigan State University researchers have shown that sunflower seeds are frequently contaminated with a toxin produced by molds and pose an increased health risk in many low-income countries worldwide.
In the current issue of PLoS ONE, the team of scientists documented frequent occurrence of aflatoxin – a toxin produced by Aspergillus molds that commonly infect corn, peanuts, pistachios and almonds – in sunflower seeds and their products. This is one of the first studies to associate aflatoxin contamination with sunflower seeds.
Although the study was conducted in Tanzania, the problem is by no means isolated there. Chronic exposure to aflatoxin causes an estimated 25,000-155,000 deaths worldwide each year, from corn and peanuts alone. Since it is one of the most potent liver carcinogens known, the research to detect and limit its presence in sunflower seeds and their products could help save lives and reduce liver disease in areas where sunflowers and their byproducts are consumed, said Gale Strasburg, MSU food science and human nutrition professor and one of the study’s co-authors. | READ MORE