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Preandpostharvest management of aflatoxin in maize: an African perspective
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Pre- and postharvest contamination of aflatoxin in maize is a major health deterrent for people in Africa where maize production has increased dramatically. This chapter highlights management options for pre- and postharvest toxin contamination in maize. Sound crop management practices are an effective way of avoiding, or at least diminishing, infection by Aspergillus flavus and subsequent aflatoxin production. Pre- and postharvest practices that reduced aflatoxin contamination include: the use of resistant cultivars, harvesting at maturity, rapid drying on platforms to avoid contact with soil, appropriate shelling methods to reduce grain damage, sorting, use of clean and aerated storage structures, controlling insect damage, and avoiding long storage periods. These contamination reducing management practices are being tested in collaboration with farmers. Work continues on food basket surveys, the bio-ecology of aflatoxin production, developing biological control through a competitive exclusion strategy, reducing the impact of postharvest management practices on human blood toxin levels, and breeding to reduce the impact of mycotoxins on trade.