About this Research Topic
Aflatoxins are a group of polyketide mycotoxins that are produced during fungal development as secondary metabolites mainly by members of the Aspergillus section Flavi. Contamination of food, feed and agricultural commodities by aflatoxins impose an enormous economic concern, as these chemicals are highly carcinogenic, they can directly influence the structure of DNA. They can lead to fetal maldevelopment and miscarriages, and are known to suppress immune systems.
In a global context, aflatoxin contamination is considered a perennial concern between the 35N and 35S latitude where developing countries are mainly situated. With the expansion of these boundaries, aflatoxins are increasingly becoming a problem in countries that previously did not have to worry about aflatoxin contamination. Given the continuing problems arising from aflatoxin contamination of food and agricultural commodities throughout the world, aflatoxins research is becoming one of the most exciting and rapidly developing areas of microbial toxins research. The applications include many disciplines, from medicine to agriculture.
Nowadays, traditional research on aflatoxins has been expanded to modern technologies such as omics for understanding the taxonomy, ecology, biochemistry and evolution of aflatoxigenic fungi in addition to strategies to pre-harvest management of aflatoxin contamination. This includes improving host resistance of susceptible crops such as cotton, maize, peanut and tree nuts via genetic engineering.
This Research Topic highlights challenges and opportunities in mitigating aflatoxins in food and agricultural crops and the current knowledge on the global health issues of aflatoxins and aflatoxigenic fungi. It covers all aspects of aflatoxin contamination of food and agricultural crops from epidemiology to ecology, biochemistry, molecular biology and pre- and post-harvest management strategies.
Research papers, reviews, perspectives and opinion papers on these themes are welcome.