Liver carcinogen traced to sunflower seeds

  • Researchers have shown that sunflower seeds are frequently contaminated with a toxin which has the potential to cause liver cancer.
  • In the study published in the journal PLoS ONE, the team of scientists documented frequent occurrence of aflatoxin — a toxin produced by Aspergillus moulds that commonly infect corn, peanuts, pistachios and almonds — in sunflower seeds and their products.
  • Chronic exposure to aflatoxin causes an estimated 25,000-155,000 deaths worldwide each year, from corn and peanuts alone.
  • Since it is one of the most potent liver carcinogens known, the research to detect and limit its presence in sunflower seeds and their products could help save lives and reduce liver disease in areas where sunflowers and their byproducts are consumed.
  • “These high aflatoxin levels, in a commodity frequently consumed by the Tanzanian population, indicate that local authorities must implement interventions to prevent and control aflatoxin contamination along the sunflower commodity value chain, to enhance food and feed safety in Tanzania,” he said.

Source: The Hindu

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