Annabella A. ADEWUNMI, Stephen O. FAPOHUNDA. Effects of exposure of wistar rats to mycotoxigenic fungal-contaminated guinea corn and pearl millet marketed in South West Nigeria; Recent Advances in Food Science; 2022; 5(2): 358-368

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Annabella A. ADEWUNMI, Stephen O. FAPOHUNDA. Effects of exposure of wistar rats to mycotoxigenic fungal-contaminated guinea corn and pearl millet marketed in South West Nigeria; Recent Advances in Food Science; 2022; 5(2): 358-368

Guinea corn (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) and Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L) R. Br. are cereals widely planted and consumed as staples in Nigeria. Mycotoxigenic fungal contamination of these grains during storage can present food safety risks to consumers due to the presence of mycotoxins. The objective of this research was to evaluate through toxicological studies in wistar rats, the effect of consumption of mycotoxigenic fungal-contaminated guinea corn and pearl millet, and the possible public health risks. A total of 32 pooled samples (17 sorghum and 15 pearl millet) of these grains were taken from two major markets in each of the states in South West Nigeria. The samples were analyzed for fungi using malt extract agar. Two - three (2-3) weeks old Wistar rats were employed for the toxicological studies. Histological and haematological analysis were performed on kidney, liver, heart and blood respectively. Mycotoxigenic molds isolated from the grain samples were Fusarium verticillioides, F. coffeatum, F. fujikuroi, Aspergillus niger,  and A. aculeatus. These molds have been implicated in the production of both regulated and unregulated mycotoxins. The toxicological studies in Wistar rats showed histological abnormalities of the kidney, liver and heart compared to the control. Statistical analysis of the total white blood cells (neutrophils and lymphocytes) of the treatment groups compared to the control showed a significant difference (p<0.01), indicating inflammation and pathogenesis. The presence of mycotoxigenic fungi in both grains in this study suggest that the consumption of S. bicolor and P. glaucum in South West Nigeria is a source of public health concern.