Aflatoxins contamination of maize in Serbia: The impact of weather conditions in 2015
Janić Hajnal, Elizabet
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In recent years climate changes recorded in temperate regions of Europe have led to aflatoxin (AF) contamination of maize. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the influence of weather conditions on levels of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), aflatoxin B2 (AFB2), aflatoxin G1 (AFG1) and aflatoxin G2 (AFG2) in 180 maize samples collected from the main maize-growing regions (Western Bačka, North Banat, South Banat and Central Serbia) in Serbia after harvest in 2015. The concentrations of AFs were determined by a validated HPLC method with post-column derivatisation and fluorescence detection (HPLC-FLD). The presence of AFB1, AFB2, AFG1 and AFG2 was detected in 57.2%, 13.9%, 5.6% and 2.8% of maize samples in the concentration ranges of 1.3–88.8 µg kg–1, 0.60–2.8 µg kg–1, 1.8–28.5 µg kg–1 and 2.1–7.5 µg kg–1 respectively. The recorded smaller amount of precipitation and especially higher air temperatures during the summer of 2015 were favourable for AF production, which resulted in 32.2% and 21.1% of samples being unsuitable for human consumption, since AFB1 and the sum of AFs concentrations were above 5.0 and 10.0 µg kg–1 respectively. Furthermore, the findings in this study indicate that the microclimate conditions in the investigated regions had a great influence on the contamination frequency of maize with AFs. The highest percentage of samples unsuitable for human consumption, considering both AFB1 and total AFs content were 72.5% and 51.5% respectively from Central Serbia, whilst the lowest percentages of 15.6% and 6.2% respectively were found in Western Bačka. These findings confirmed that maize should be continuously monitored in order to protect human and animal health from the harmful effects caused by AFs contamination.