Reducing human exposure to aflatoxin through the use of clay: A review

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Food Additives and Contaminants - Part A Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure and Risk Assessment


Innovative sorption strategies for the detoxification of aflatoxins have been developed. NovaSil clay (NS) has been shown to prevent aflatoxicosis in a variety of animals when included in their diet. Results have shown that NS clay binds aflatoxins with high affinity and high capacity in the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in a notable reduction in the bioavailability of these toxins without interfering with the utilization of vitamins and other micronutrients. This strategy is being evaluated as a potential remedy for acute aflatoxicosis, and as a sustainable human intervention for aflatoxins via the diet. Phase I and II clinical trials confirmed the apparent safety of NS for further study in humans. A recent study in Ghanaians at high risk for aflatoxicosis has indicated that NS (at a dose level of 0.25%) is effective in decreasing biomarkers of aflatoxin exposure and does not interfere with the levels of serum vitamins A and E, and iron and zinc. In summary, enterosorption strategies/therapies based on NS clay are promising for the management of aflatoxins and as a sustainable public health intervention. The NS clay remedy is novel, inexpensive and easily disseminated. Based on the present research, aflatoxin sequestering clays should be rigorously evaluated in vitro and in vivo, and should meet the following criteria: (1) favourable thermodynamic characteristics of mycotoxin sorption, (2) tolerable levels of priority metals, dioxins/furans and other hazardous contaminants, (3) safety and efficacy in multiple animal species, (4) safety and efficacy in long-term studies, and (5) negligible interactions with vitamins, iron and zinc and other micronutrients. © 2008 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.



Aflatoxin sorbent, Aflatoxin-binding agent, Aflatoxin-sequestering agent, Aflatoxins, Clinical trial, Ghana, Mycotoxins, NovaSil clay