Assessment of levels of exposure to biogenic amines - a Gambia case study
Biogenic amines (BAs) have been reported in a variety of foods namely, fish, milk, yogurt, beef and chicken. Their amounts are usually increased during controlled or spontaneous microbial fermentation of food or in the course of food spoilage. Biogenic amines are basic nitrogenous compounds with important metabolic and physiological significance in living organisms. They also pose some hazards to human health when consumed in quantities beyond their legal limits. Protein containing foods are the main precursors from which BAs are synthesized. A lot of amino acid containing foods are being consumed in The Gambia with no equipped laboratory to assess the levels of BAs. This work involved the study of the factors which enhance the formation of BAs through use of questionnaires, observation and testing (temperature). This research aimed at assessing the level of exposure to biogenic amine contamination by consumers in The Gambia. It was found that the level of biogenic amines may not be beyond their toxic levels in fish, milk and yogurt, but there is a probability of it being high in meat due to lack of proper means of preservation and quiet higher in imported chickens because of the duration of time it takes to get it to final consumers.