Aflatoxins (AFs) are well-known mycotoxins and contaminants of various agricultural commodities globally that are linked to a wide range of adverse health and economic complications. Because of their incessant proliferation and deleterious consequences, it has become mandatory to routinely monitor the levels of these toxins in agricultural products before they go into the market. Essentially, effective analysis is an important component of AFs control, and extraction is a necessary step for their analysis, irrespective of the protocol adopted. Conventional methods for AF extraction are expensive, the processes involved are tedious and utilize large quantities of organic solvents that are environmentally unfriendly. This has necessitated the quest for alternatives that are ‘green’, cost-effective and easy to perform. In this regard, subcritical water extraction (SWE) is a viable alternative that has proven to be effective in the extraction of other bioactive compounds. This chapter presents a critical appraisal of the principles and dynamics of SWE, and its current applications as a viable tool in the extraction of AFs from various biological matrices. Although further research needs to be performed to enhance its applicability, the adoption of SWE in the extraction of AFs seems very promising and needs to be properly exploited.
Part of the book: Aflatoxin
Acrylamide (ACR) is a possible human carcinogen, with neurotoxic properties. It is a heat-generated food toxicant particularly found in carbohydrate-rich foods. Its occurrence is of global concern and constitutes a major challenge to food safety, due to its presence in several thermally processed foods worldwide. Since its discovery, ACR has been recognized as one of the most widely investigated heat-induced food contaminant, and several reports on its formation and occurrence since its discovery have been reported. However, information on the extent of ACR occurrence in foods consumed in different parts of Africa is rather too limited. This is particularly a concern considering that most carbohydrate-based foods, subjected to varying degrees of thermal processing, are consumed as staple diets almost on daily basis in the continent. As such, African populations may be exposed to high levels of ACR daily. Thus, this chapter covers the formation, occurrence and health impact of ACR in foods. It further summarizes previous studies looking at ACR reduction and mitigation strategies, especially those that may be applicable in the continent. Adequate sensitization of the populace about the prevention of ACR as a food contaminant is essential to ensure the safety of heat-processed carbohydrate-rich foods in the continent.
Part of the book: Acrylic Polymers in Healthcare
Pulses play a significant and diverse role in the agricultural systems and diets of underprivileged populations worldwide. They are ideal produce for reducing poverty, improving human health and nutrition, and enhancing resilience of the ecosystem. Fermentation is a processing technique that has been used for decades to transform food produce with improved health, functional, and nutraceutical benefits. In tandem with the United Nations’ (UN’s) sustainable development goal Number 3, fermented food products from pulses with health benefits align with this initiative to end hunger, achieve food security, and improve nutrition. In solidarity with the celebration of International Year of Pulses 2016 (IYP2016) and considering the relative neglect of pulses as compared with other food groups, this chapter would be vital in positioning pulses and fermented products from them as readily available functional foods. With increased interest in fermentation, fermented pulse-based foods have been identified as excellent sources of bioactive and functional foods. Thus, fermented pulse-based products present a viable alternative, relatively available, affordable, and cheap source of foods with properties beyond that of basic nutrition.
Part of the book: Functional Food
The emergence of food metabolomics, otherwise known as foodomics, has opened new frontiers and possibilities for scientists to characterize and simultaneously determine and obtain the comprehensive profile of the food metabolome. Qualitative and quantitative determinations of this metabolome offer insights into the underlying processes involved and details about the content of the food analytes. This had seemed technically challenging and impossible over time, but can now be done due to the advent of sophisticated analytical equipment and chemometric tools. The application of this technique offers enormous opportunities to obtain detailed information that can be correlated to various properties, functionalities and potentials in fermented foods. This chapter thus evaluated and documented studies presented in the literature on the food metabolomics study of fermented foods, with a view of appraising its prospects, applications and subsequent utilization in the study of fermented foods.
Part of the book: Functional Food
The proliferated contamination of agricultural commodities by mycotoxins and their attendant toxic effects on humans and animals which consume such commodities constitutes a major concern to food safety and security. These highly toxic food contaminants are produced by various filamentous fungi species that are ubiquitous in nature, however, favourable climatic conditions in the tropics favour their proliferation in these regions. Africa, by virtue of its location along the equator makes it highly accommodative to proliferation of mycotoxigenic fungi species, as such, it is the most affected of all the continents. Other factors such as poverty, and climate change further complicates the mycotoxin situation on the continent. Economic impact due to mycotoxin contamination in Africa is thus alarming. The effects of mycotoxins can in fact be felt in the overall health of humans and animals, sustainable development, food security and safety, damage to the African agricultural export brand, negatively impacting Africa’s self-sustainability and increased dependence on foreign aid, not excluding high cost of research, mitigation and regulation of the prevalence of these toxins in African countries. This book chapter presents an exhaustive appraisal of the socio-economic impact of mycotoxins on Africa. Our observations herein are expected to stimulate policy makers, as well as, all stakeholders along the food supply chain to identify critical areas of collaboration and strengthen alliances in order to ameliorate the effects of these toxicants on the continent of Africa, and the world at large.
Part of the book: Mycotoxins