Aflatoxin types

Kinds of aflatoxins

Classes of aflatoxins

There are approximately 20 different types of aflatoxins, the four main ones are:

  • Aflatoxin B1: It is considered the worst, the most toxic, and is the one that is directly related to the increased risk of cancer. This type of aflatoxin can lead to aflatoxin M1, which can be passed to the baby through breastfeeding. Dairy products contain certain amounts of aflatoxins due to the presence of these substances in their feed.
  • Aflatoxin B2
  • Aflatoxin G1
  • Aflatoxin G2

Why are aflatoxins toxic?

Aflatoxins are very small non-protein substances, much smaller than the toxins produced by bacteria. Therefore, they are difficult to detect in conventional food tests and are also very difficult to detect by our immune system. All this makes us more vulnerable to its harmful effects.

Were to find  aflatoxins?

Peanut is one of the foods with more aflatoxins

Nuts, seeds and tropical spices are especially sensitive to mold contamination. Among the richest in aflatoxins are the following:

Tropical spices:

Tropical spices have a greater amount of aflatoxins: cayenne, paprika and chili peppers (Capsicum spp.), turmeric, galangal, ginger, nutmeg, pepper.

– Dehydrated tender fruits:

– Dairy products:

Aflatoxins M1 pass into breast milk and are found in milk and especially in cheese.

Poorly preserved foods have more aflatoxins

Nutmeg in a market
Nutmeg and mace drying in the sun. Poor hygiene during the processing of spices makes them very vulnerable to the generation of many mycotoxins in these foods over time

Aflatoxins do not develop only in nuts but on any other food of vegetable or animal origin that is kept dry for a long time, in conditions of humidity and temperature that favor the growth of toxigenic fungi.

Foods that are poorly packaged, poorly preserved or expired contain more aflatoxins. Therefore it is recommended to buy properly packaged food and in establishments that maintain maximum hygiene with their products.

Regulatory bodies in each country set maximum permitted levels of aflatoxins in food, but once these foods have entered the country, poorly preserved seeds or spices contain more mycotoxins than the maximum allowed.

For this reason it is important to buy properly packaged foods, which means that quality controls have passed and that they have low aflatoxin levels.

punto rojo More information on aflatoxins

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

10 November, 2021

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