Submitted to: Mycotoxin Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 5, 2005
Publication Date: July 1, 2006
Citation: Desjardins, A.E., Busman, M. 2006. Mycotoxins in developing countries: a case study of maize in Nepal. Mycotoxin Research. 22(2):92-95. Interpretive Summary: This brief article reviews the importance of maize as a human food and source of mycotoxin contamination in Asia. This article presents new information on the contamination of maize in Nepal with the Fusarium mycotoxins nivalenol, deoxynivalenol, and fumonisins, and on appropriate technologies for reducing mycotoxins in maize. This article will be useful to agricultural scientists and agencies involved in mycotoxin management in developing countries.
Technical Abstract: Maize (Zea mays) is an important food crop in the foothills of the Nepal Himalaya Mountains. Surveys have found that maize in Nepal is contaminated with Fusarium species, mainly F. verticillioides and F. proliferatum, which produce fumonisins, and F. graminearum, which produces trichothecenes, mainly nivalenol and 4-deoxynivalenol. Maize from smallholder farms and markets is often contaminated with fumonisins and trichothecenes above 1000 ng/g, a level of concern for human health. These mycotoxins were not eliminated by traditional fermentation for producing maize beer, but Nepalese women were able to detoxify contaminated maize by hand-sorting visibly disease kernels. An integrated approach to reduce mycotoxin risks in maize in Nepal and other developing countries should include plant breeding to produce ear rot resistant cultivars, along with education in mycotoxins risks and in agricultural and grain storage practices to reduce mycotoxin contamination.