Mycotoxins and Food Safety
It is estimated that between 40 and 50% of post-harvest losses in tropical Africa are due to mold. In tropical Africa, food storage and conservation conditions facilitate the proliferation of filamentous fungi which produce toxic secondary metabolites (called mycotoxins) for humans, either through the direct consumption of these foods or their by-products (milk, meats, cheeses, etc.). Although, there is a crucial lack of national statistics, many mycotoxins such as aflatoxins, ochratoxin, fumonisins and trichothecens (produced by a wide variety of fungi of the genera Aspergillus, Penicillium, Alternia) are silent but excellent killers in the tropical areas. Wildlife also contains many edible species that are toxic. It is our aim to contribute to the documentation of fungi associated with foodstuffs, as well as the screening of toxins secreted by these fungi and their impact on food security. Specifically, it will involve the following aspects (1) toxicity study of some macromycetes and fungal poisoning in tropical areas, (2) study of the diversity of fungi associated with foodstuffs from tropical Africa, (3) diversity of mycotoxins produced by molds and nutritional and health impact, (4) screening and characterization of mycotoxins.