Curcumin-based photosensitization inactivates aspergillus flavus and reduces aflatoxin B1 in maize kernels


Different methods have been applied in controlling contamination of foods and feeds by the carcinogenic fungal toxin, aflatoxin, but nevertheless the problem remains pervasive in developing countries. Curcumin is a natural polyphenolic compound from the spice turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) that has been identified as an efficient photosensitiser for inactivation of Aspergillus flavus conidia. Curcumin mediated photoinactivation of A. flavus has revealed the potential of this technology to be an effective method for reducing population density of the aflatoxin-producing fungus in foods. This study demonstrates the influence of pH and temperature on efficiency of photoinactivation of the fungus and how treating spore-contaminated maize kernels affects aflatoxin pro duction. The results show the efficiency of curcumin mediated photoinactivation of fungal conidia and hyphae were not affected by temperatures between 15 and 35 °C or pH range of 1.5–9.0. The production of aflatoxin B1 was significantly lower (p < 0.05), with an average of 82.4 μg/kg as compared to up to 305.9 μg/kg observed in untreated maize kept under similar conditions. The results of this study indicate that curcumin mediated pho tosensitization can potentially be applied under simple environmental conditions to achieve significant reduc tion of post-harvest contamination of aflatoxin B1 in maize.


Journal of Food Microbiology 82 (2019), pp. 82–88


Aflatoxin B1, Photosensitization, Curcumin, Maize, pH, Temperature