Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, May 15, 2017

Aflanet: Joining Forces Against Aflatoxins

18 April 2017. In the inter-departmental project “Aflanet”, MRI scientists are building a German-
Kenyan network of scientists, public and private organizations, as well as farmers to reduce aflatoxin in the food chain.
  1. The project is coordinated by the Department of Safety and Quality of Cereals in Detmold, which developed an instant aflatoxin test using corn samples from Kenya. The idea was to create a test that is so easy to handle that African famers can administer it themselves. The food to be tested is ground, put in a container with a liquid extraction agent such as alcohol or water, and then shaken. The liquid is filtered and dripped onto a strip, which is inserted in a measuring device that shows the overall aflatoxin level within one minute.
  2. The Department of Safety and Quality of Milk and Fish Products in Kiel studies critical contamination levels in animal feed and how they carry over into dairy products. Cows from the experimental station in Schädtbek near Kiel were given feed containing aflatoxin B1. Later, an analysis of their milk showed that in complete feedingstuffs, at normal levels of concentrated feed, the current critical aflatoxin level did not result in excessive levels of the toxin in the dairy product. The carry-over rate was two percent. Aflatoxin levels could be lowered by 25 percent by adding aflatoxin binder to the milk – a potential way to reduce the toxin, at least temporarily.
  3. The Department of Safety and Quality of Fruit and Vegetables in Karlsruhe uses molecular-biological methods to study the factors that generate aflatoxin. They hope their insights will lead to a method to suppress the production of the toxin and optimise storage conditions. The goal is to develop a sort of heat map that shows high risk or presence of activated aflatoxins. The activation of genes can be measured using modern analytical methods such as microarray, real-time PCR or ddPCR technologies (Droplet Digital PCR). The researchers successfully developed a ddPCR-system to show the activity of a gene that controls the generation of aflatoxin (aflR). More ddPCR-systems are in the pipeline.
Announcement:

AflaNet • one-day-conference • call for abstracts
Conference date: 9th October, 2017
Venue: Nairobi, Kenya.
(see link at the bottom)

The organizers of the AflaNet project are announcing a conference to be held in Nairobi, Kenya. The aim of the conference is to bring together scientists, stakeholders, institutes, farmers and governmental institutions seeking for long-lasting, innovative and practicable ideas to combat Aflatoxin from the food value chain.

The project funded by the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture in 2016 is designed as an initial study that is planned to be followed by a more intensive, overall collaborative project with African partners. The goal of the AflaNet project is to establish a long-term network between scientific and development partners in Kenya/East Africa and Germany to address the reduction of aflatoxins in the food value chain. Scientific results have been gathered by conducting a carry-over study of aflatoxin into milk, about verifying aflatoxin rapid tests and molecular methods to minimise contamination.
  • Send abstract to: Aflanet@mri.bund.de
  • Deadline for abstract submission: 15th June, 2017
  • Notification of acceptance 15th August, 2017

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