Cancer incidences and mortality in Kenya are increasing according to recent reports and now number among the top five causes of mortality in the country. The risk factors responsible for this increase in cancer incidences are assumed to be genetic and/or environmental in nature. The environmental factors include exposure to carcinogenic contaminants such aflatoxins (AFs). However, the exact causes of the increase in cancer incidences and prevalence in many developing countries are not fully known. Aflatoxins are known contaminants produced by the common fungi Aspergillus flavus and the closely related Aspergillus parasiticus which grow as moulds in human foods. Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is most common in food and is 1000 times more potent when compared with benzo(a)pyrene, the most potent carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH). Aflatoxins have therefore drawn a lot of interest in research from food safety and human health point of view. In this chapter, the chemistry, synthesis, identification, toxicology and potential human health risks of AFB1 in Kenya are discussed.
Part of the book: Aflatoxin B1 Occurrence, Detection and Toxicological Effects