Author(s): Proctor AD, Ahmedna M, Kumar JV, Goktepe I
Aflatoxins occur naturally in many agricultural crops causing health hazards and economic losses. Despite improved handling, processing and storage, they remain a problem in the peanut industry. Therefore, new ways to detoxify contaminated products are needed to limit economic/health impacts and add value to the peanut industry. The study was conducted (1) to evaluate the effectiveness of ozonation and mild heat in breaking down aflatoxins in peanut kernels and flour, and (2) to quantify aflatoxin destruction compared with untreated samples. Peanut samples were inoculated with known concentrations of aflatoxins B1, B2, G1 and G2. Samples were subjected to gaseous ozonation and under various temperatures (25, 50, 75 degrees C) and exposure times (5, 10, 15 min). Ozonated and non-ozonated samples were extracted in acetonitrile/water, derivatized in a Kobra cell and quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography. Ozonation efficiency increased with higher temperatures and longer treatment times. Regardless of treatment combinations, aflatoxins B1 and G1 exhibited the highest degradation levels. Higher levels of toxin degradation were achieved in peanut kernels than in flour. The temperature effect lessened as the exposure time increased, suggesting that ozonation at room temperature for 10-15 min could yield degradation levels similar to those achieved at higher temperatures while being more economical.