Aflatoxins B1 in different grades of chillies (Capsicum annum L.) in India as determined by indirect competitive-ELISA.
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Samples of the three grades of chilli pod (grades 1 to 3) were collected during surveys in 1998 and 1999 from the principal market yards and cold storage facilities of the major chilli-growing areas of Andhra Pradesh (AP), India. Chilli powders were collected from different supermarkets in Hyderabad, AP. They were analysed for aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) content by an indirect competitive ELISA. To avoid the influence of interfering substances present in chilli extracts, it was necessary to prepare the aflatoxin standards in methanol extracts of chillies free from aflatoxins. For nine representative samples there was good agreement between ELISA and HPLC estimations of AFB1 and the results suggested that the ELISA procedure adopted was dependable. Of the 182 chilli samples tested, 59% of the samples were contaminated with AFB1 and 18% contained the toxin at non-permissible levels. The highest AFB1 concentration of 969 µg/kg was found in one sample representing grade 3. Overall the maximum percentage of chilli pods showing AFB1 levels higher than 30 ?g/kg (non-permissible levels) was in grade 3. Chilli pods stored in refrigerated rooms showed the lowest proportion of samples containing aflatoxin. Nearly 9% of the chilli powders sold in supermarkets contained non-permissible aflatoxin levels. This report highlights the importance of using grade 1 chilli pods to minimize aflatoxin contamination
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