Susceptibility of locally cultivated groundnut (Arachis hypogaea) varieties to aflatoxin accumulation in Homa Bay County, Kenya
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Groundnut is one of the staple foods in many parts of the world. Due to its high nutrient content, the nuts are liable to colonization by aflatoxigenic fungi and subsequent aflatoxin accumulation. This study was aimed at determining susceptibility of locally grown groundnut varieties to Aspergillus flavus in Homa Bay County, Western Kenya. A pretested questionnaire was used to survey agronomic practices on groundnut cultivation in 75 randomly selected households in the study site. From each household farm, 100 g soil samples and 500 g of groundnuts were collected at harvest and A. flavus isolated on Modified Rose-Bengal Agar and identified. Aflatoxin was then extracted from each of the groundnut samples and quantified using direct competitive enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Red Valencia was the most cultivated among the 8 varieties identified. Farmers (66%) obtained the planting seeds from the local market and most (92%) did not use fertilizers with majority (94%) having no knowledge of aflatoxins. There was no significant inter-variety difference in aflatoxin accumulation (p=0.744, F=0.581, Df=6, 61). A highly significant association (t = 2.652; P = 0.010) was found between storage state of the groundnuts and aflatoxin levels, with 94% of the samples stored unshelled having aflatoxin levels below 10 ppb. Overall, only 6.7% of kernels sampled from all the divisions did not meet the EC aflatoxin limit of ≤4 ppb while 4% did not meet the KEBS limit of ≤10 ppb. Though the agronomic practices were poor, aflatoxin levels were predominantly low in the region suggesting that the aflatoxin accumulation is likely influenced by agro-ecological zoning as other studies have also been indicated.
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