Identification and toxicological assessment of Aspergillus flavus resistant local maize varieties in Kenya
Promotor: Sarah De Saeger (UGent), Marthe De Boevre (UGent) and Sheila Okoth (University of Nairobi, Kenya)
Researcher: Victor Kagot (UGent)
The aflatoxin issue in Kenya will be tackled by the identification of Aspergillus flavus-resistant local maize varieties. The planting of resistant maize will offer an immediate strategy to reduce chronic aflatoxin exposure to humans. The toxicological assessment of other secondary mycotoxin metabolites will be examined by the use of state-of-the-art in vivo zebra fish models.
Fusarium mycotoxins and their modified forms in Nigerian foods: occurrence and influence of traditional processing methods
Promotor: Sarah De Saeger (UGent), Marthe De Boevre (UGent) and Olusegun Atanda (MCU Nigeria)
Researchers: Cynthia Adaku Chilaka (UGent)
Fusarium is one of the most common and important filamentous pathogenic fungi widely distributed around the world. The fungus can contaminate a wide variety of crops in the field and during storage. In addition to causing economic losses, Fusarium spp. synthesizes under certain conditions various mycotoxins with subsequent toxic properties. Studies have demonstrated that metabolization of mycotoxins in planta by biological modification or chemical modification through transformation during food processing or interaction of mycotoxins with matrix compounds can lead to the formation of conjugated or modified toxins referred to as modified mycotoxins. Modified mycotoxins when ingested might subsequently hydrolyse to the parent toxins in the digestive tract of the organisms thus causing additional health effect to the host. Limited research on occurrence of Fusarium mycotoxins and their modified forms in food has been reported in the African continent especially Nigeria.
This project aims to investigate the occurrence of Fusarium mycotoxins and their modified forms in Nigeria staple crops, as well as their locally processed food products. The fate and stability of Fusarium mycotoxins during traditional processing of fermented Nigerian foods will also be investigated.