Carcinogens in West Africa with Special Reference to Fungal Metabolites from Fusarium species

Adejumo, T.O., Orole, O.O.


The presence of fungal toxins in our food systems and tissues has enormous public health implications, this is because mycotoxins are nephrotoxic, teratogenic, immunotoxic and mutagenic.  Warm and humid climates, as well as poor conditions of storage and handling of agricultural commodities are favorable to fungal colonization and development, which lead to the accumulation of mycotoxins capable of causing cancer.  The fungal metabolites are also capable of causing acute and chronic effects in man and animals ranging from death to disorder of central nervous, cardiovascular, pulmonary systems and intestinal tract.  In human, Fumonisin B1 causes human hepatoma and esophageal cancer, increased susceptibility to diseases, especially in children and childhood pre-five mortality and reduced life expectancy.  The complete elimination of carcinogen-contaminated commodities is not easily achievable, hence good agricultural practices, followed by the implementation of good manufacturing practices during the handling, storage, processing, and distribution of agricultural produce for human food and animal feed seek to reduce the level of contamination.  Known cancer-causing mycotoxins including aflatoxin B1, fuminisin B1, ochratoxin A pose serious economic and health risks.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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