Aflatoxin B1 and M1 contamination of animal feeds and milk from urban centers in Kenya
Background: Aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) is the principal hydroxylated AFB1 metabolite present in milk of cows fed with a diet contaminated with AFB1and excreted within 12 hours of administration of contaminated feeds. Objective: This study was initiated to assess the knowledge and practices of urban dairy farmers and feed millers about aflatoxin in feeds and milk, determine the prevalence and quantify the levels of AFB1 and AFM1 in animal feeds and milk respectively from urban environs in Kenya. Methods: This work was carried out in the Department of Public Health Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Nairobi, Kenya, between February 2006 and March 2007. Results: A total of 830 animal feed and 613 milk samples from four urban centers were analyzed for aflatoxin B1 and M1 respectively using competitive enzyme immunoassay. Eighty six percent (353/412) of the feed samples from farmers were positive for aflatoxin B1 and 67% (235/353) of these exceeded the FAO/WHO level of 5µ gKg-1. Eighty one percent (197/ 243) of the feed samples from feed millers and 87% (153/175) from agrochemical shops were positive, while 58% (115/197) and 66% (92/153) of the positive samples exceeded the FAO/WHO limits respectively. Seventy two percent (315/439) of the milk from dairy farmers, 84% (71/85) from large and medium scale farmers and 99% (88/89) of the pasteurized marketed milk were positive for aflatoxin M1, and 20%, 35% an 31% of positive milk from dairy farmers, medium and large scale farmers and market outlets respectively, exceeded the WHO/FAO levels of 0.05µ g/Kg-1. Sixty seven percent of the urban smallholder dairy farmers had no knowledge that milk could be contaminated with aflatoxin M1 and neither knew how they could mitigate against this exposure. Feed millers knew about aflatoxin B1 in grains and excretion of aflatoxin M1 in milk, but were not alleviating exposure to animals. Conclusion: There is need to create awareness and establish routine monitoring of animal feeds and milk to reduce animal and consequently human response.
Key words: Aflatoxin B1, M1, animal feeds, milk, Kenya
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