Evaluation and detoxification of aflatoxins in ground and tree nuts using food grade organic acids

Farhat Jubeen, Farooq Sher, Abu Hazafa, Fatima Zafar, Mariam Ameen, Tahir Rasheed

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    31 Citations (Scopus)
    97 Downloads (Pure)


    The contamination of foodstuffs especially nuts with aflatoxins (AFs) affected by some of the fungal genera species is a major threat to the economy, safe food supply and serious health concerns to any country in recent days. Recently different techniques including heat, ozone and microbes are used for the decontamination of aflatoxin but all these are limited to achieve the desirable results. The present study objectives to decontaminate AFs in nuts by using three food-grade organic acids. The aqueous solutions of three food-grade organic acids namely citric, lactic and propionic acid are used at five different concentrations (1, 3, 5, 7 and 9%) to detoxify aflatoxin B 1 (AFB 1) and total aflatoxins (TAFs) that includes;AFB 1, AFB 2, AFG 1 and AFG 2 in selected nuts including almond, peanut, pistachio and walnut at two different moisture levels (10 ± 3 and 16 ± 3%). The high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with fluorescence detection method was applied for the qualitative and quantitative determination of AFs. The results showed that the decontamination of AFB 1 and TAFs significantly increased in infected nuts by increasing the concentration of acids. The experimental results after 15 min treatment of walnut (10 ± 3 and 16 ± 3% moisture level), pistachio (10 ± 3% moisture content) and peanuts (10 ± 3% moisture content) with citric, lactic and propionic acids at 9% concentration significantly reduced AFs about 99, 99.90 and 96.07% respectively. Furthermore, treatment with citric and lactic acids resulted in the conversion of AFB 1 into less toxic products identified as AFD 1 via hydrolysis of the lactone ring. Furthermore, citric acid was found as the most efficient acid in degrading the TAFs among all three organic acids. The present study showed better AFs detoxification results than conventional methods. Hence, it is concluded that citric, lactic, and propionic acids can be applied as a useful and safe decontamination method for AFB 1 and TAFs in aflatoxin-affected nuts.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number101749
    Pages (from-to)(In-press)
    JournalBiocatalysis and Agricultural Biotechnology
    Early online date13 Aug 2020
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


    • Detoxification
    • Decontamination
    • Total aflatoxins
    • Aflatoxin B1
    • Nuts
    • Citric acid
    • Aflatoxin B
    • Food security
    • Citric acid.

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
    • Bioengineering
    • Food Science
    • Agronomy and Crop Science
    • Biotechnology


    Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation and detoxification of aflatoxins in ground and tree nuts using food grade organic acids'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this