Occurrence of aflatoxins in wheat flour specified for sangak bread and its reduction through fermentation and baking

Main Article Content

F. Mohammad-Hasani
M. Mirlohi
L. Mosharraf
A. Hasanzade


aflatoxin, bread, dough, flour, Lactobacillus plantarum, mycotoxin


This study was conducted as a screening survey to determine the occurrence of total aflatoxins (TAF) levels in sangak flour samples provided from flour factories and bakeries and to assess the effect of commercial fermentation and baking practices on the most contaminated flour samples. In addition, the effect of fermentation by yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and a mixture of yeast and a lactobacillus strain (Lactobacillus plantarum LA7) in reducing aflatoxins in prepared sangak breads were compared. The competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay method was employed to determine toxin levels in the samples. With contamination levels ranging from 6.68 to 34.47 ng/g, the majority of the tested samples were not considered safe. Mean aflatoxin contamination of examined samples was 18.06 ng/g. Considering the limits for TAF in wheat flour set by ISIRI and EC (15 ng/g), 56.7% of the samples were unacceptable. No significant correlation was found between ash content and TAF levels (P>0.05). A significant decrease in aflatoxin levels was seen during sangak bread manufacturing (P<0.01). Dough fermentation by yeast and the mixture of yeast and L. plantarum LA7 resulted in 33.7 and 40.7% decrease in aflatoxin levels of the contaminated dough, respectively. On average, the sangak bread made with the most contaminated flours contained 11.1 ng/g of TAF, which was above the established maximum residual level in Iran and European countries.

Abstract 73 | PDF Downloads 62


Abdulkadar, A., Al-Ali, A.A., Al-Kildi, A.M. and Al-Jedah, J.H., 2004. Mycotoxins in food products available in Qatar. Food Control 15: 543-548.
Afsah-Hejri, L., Jinap, S., Hajeb, P., Radu, S. and Shakibazadeh, S., 2013. A review on mycotoxins in food and feed: Malaysia case study. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 12: 629-651.
Allam, N.G., El-Shanshoury, A.E.R.R., Emara, H.A. and Zaky, A.Z., 2012. Biological activity of Streptomyces noursei against ochratoxin A producing Aspergillus niger. African Journal of Biotechnology 11: 666-677.
American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC), 2003. Approved methods of analysis of the AACC (10th Ed.). Methods 44-16, 08-07. AACC, St. Paul, MN, USA.
Andrade, P.D. and Caldas, E.D., 2015. Aflatoxins in cereals: worldwide occurrence and dietary risk assessment. World Mycotoxin Journal 1: 1-17.
Babaei-Razdari, H., Chaichi Nosrati, A., Ghaemi, N. and Mehr Ara, S., 2014. An assessment of aflatoxin levels in wheat samples of 5 top provinces of Iran. Bulletin of Environment, Pharmacology and Life Sciences 3: 237-242.
Banu, I., Dragoi, L. and Aprodu, I., 2014. From wheat to sourdough bread: a laboratory scale study on the fate of deoxynivalenol content. Quality Assurance and Safety of Crops & Foods 6: 53-60.
Behfar, A., Khorasgani, Z.N.and Mosavi, A., 2008. Determination of aflatoxin (B1, B2, G1, G2) levels in wheat flour. Toxicology Letters 180: 179-181.
Bento, J., Pena, A., Lino, C. and Pereira, J., 2009. Determination of ochratoxin A content in wheat bread samples collected from the Algarve and Braganca regions, Portugal: winter 2007. Microchemical Journal 91: 165-169.
Castells, M., Marin, S., Sanchis, V. and Ramos, A.J., 2008. Distribution of fumonisins and aflatoxins in corn fractions during industrial cornflake processing. International Journal of Food Microbiology 123: 81-87.
Cheli, F., Pinotti, L., Rossi, L. and Dell-Orto, V., 2013. Effect of milling procedures on mycotoxin distribution in wheat fractions: a review. LWT-Food Science and Technology 54: 307-314.
Clarke, C.I. and Arendt, E.K., 2005. A review of the application of sourdough technology to wheat bread. Advances in Food and Nutrition Research 49: 138-161.
Clarke, C.I., Schober, T.J., Dockery, P., O’Sullivan, K. and Arendt, E.K., 2004. Wheat sourdough fermentation: effects of time and acidification on fundamental rheological properties. Cereal Chemistry 81: 409-417.
Elsanhoty, R. and Azeke, M., 2009. Assessment of the ability of some probiotic bacteria to bind and remove aflatoxin from contaminated wheat during Baladi bread making. Nigerian Annals of Natural Sciences 1: 49-59.
European Commision (EC), 2006. Commission Regulation (EC) no. 683/2004 of 13 April 2004 Laying down the methods of sampling and analysis for the official control of the levels of mycotoxins in foodstuffs. Official Journal of European Union L70: 12-34.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 1996. Basic facts on the world cereal situation. FAO, Rome, Italy.
Goto, T., Peterson, S.W., Ito, Y. and Wicklaw, D.T., 1997. Mycotoxin producing ability of Aspergillus tamarii. Mycotoxins 44: 17-20.
Gul, H., Ozcelik, S., Sagd?c, O. and Certel, M., 2005. Sourdough bread production with Lactobacilli and S. cerevisiae isolated from sourdoughs. Process Biochemistry 40: 691-697.
Hedayati, M.T. and Mohammadpour, R.A., 2005. The contamination rate of stored wheat samples of Mazandaran province to Aspergillusflavus and aflatoxin (2003). Behbood Journal of Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences 9: 52-61.
Huwig, A., Freimund, S., Kappeli, O. and Dutler, H., 2001. Mycotoxin detoxication of animal feed by different adsorbents. Toxicology Letters 122: 179-188.
Hwang, J.H. and Lee, K.G., 2006. Reduction of aflatoxin B1contamination in wheat by various cooking treatments. Food Chemistry 98: 71-75.
Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran (ISIRI), 2002. Food and feed-mycotoxins: maximum tolerated level [in Persian]. ISIRI no. 5925. ISIRI, Tehran, Iran.
Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran (ISIRI), 2004. Foods and agricultural products-method of sampling for official control of the levels of mycotoxins in foodstuffs [in Persian]. ISIRI no. 12004. ISIRI, Tehran, Iran.
Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran (ISIRI), 2012. Wheat flour – specifications and test methods [in Persian]. ISIRI no. 103. ISIRI, Tehran, Iran.
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), 1993. Aflatoxins. In: Some naturally occurring substances: food items and constituents, heterocyclic aromatic amines and mycotoxins. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, Volume 56. IARC, Lyon, France, pp. 245-395.
Ito, Y., Peterson, S.W., Wicklaw, D.T. and Goto, T., 2001. Aspergillus pseudotamarii, a new aflatoxin producing species in Aspergillus section Flavi. Mycological Research 105: 2233-2239.
Kabak, B. and Ozbey, F., 2012. Assessment of the bioaccessibility of aflatoxins from various food matrices using an in vitrodigestion model, and the efficacy of probiotic bacteria in reducing bioaccessibility. Food Composition and Analysis 27: 21-31.
Kazemi, A., Rezazade, A., Pirze, L., Hoseini, M., Vahedjabari, M., Ghaem-Maqami, J. and Jaefari, A.A., 2007. Fungal contamination of flour in bakeries in Tabriz. Medical Journal of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences 50: 8-11.
Khoshpey, B., Farhud, D. and Zaini, F., 2011. Aflatoxins in Iran: nature, hazards and carcinogenicity. Iranian Journal of Public Health 40: 1-30.
Lahtinen, S., Haskard, C., Ouwehand, A., Salminen, S. and Ahokas, J., 2004. Binding of aflatoxin B1 to cell wall components of Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain GG. Food Additives and Contaminants 21: 158-164.
Mahmoudi, M., Aryaee, P., Ghanbari, M., Ansari, H. and Nourafcan, H., 2012. The determination of aflatoxin and ochratoxin of flour and wheat in northern Iran. In: International Conference on Environment, Agriculture and Food Sciences (ICEAFS ‘2012), August 11-12, 2012, Phuket, Thailand, pp. 11-12.
Maliha, R., Samina, K. and Najma, A., 2010. Assessment of mycoflora and aflatoxin contamination of stored wheat grains. International Food Research Journal 17: 71-81.
Mashinini, K. and Dutton, M.F., 2006. The incidence of fungi and mycotoxins in South Africa wheat and wheat-based products. Environmental Science and Health Part B 41: 285-296.
Mosharraf, L., Kadivar, M. and Shahedi, M., 2009. Effect of hydrothermaled bran on physicochemical, rheological and microstructural characteristics of sangak bread. Journal of Cereal Science 49: 398-404.
Najafi, M.A., Rezaei, K., Safari, M. and Razavi, S.H., 2012. Use of sourdough to reduce phytic acid and improve zinc bioavailability of a traditional flat bread (sangak) from Iran. Food Science and Biotechnology 21: 51-57.
Oluwafemi, F., 2004. Fate of aflatoxin in cereals and cereal products during processing. Food, Agriculture and Environment 2: 57-60.
Peterson, S.W., Ito, Y., Horn, B.W. and Goto, T., 2001. Aspergillus bombycis, a new aflatoxigenic species and genetic variation in its sibling species, A. nomius. Mycologia 4: 689-703.
Rao, G.J., Govindaraju, G., Sivasithamparam, N. and Shanmugasundaram, E., 1982. Uptake, translocation and persistence of mycotoxins in rice seedlings. Plant and Soil 66: 121-123.
Riba, A., Bouras, N., Mokrane, S., Mathieu, F., Lebrihi, A. and Sabaou, N., 2010. Aspergillus section flavi and aflatoxins in Algerian wheat and derived products. Food and Chemical Toxicology 48: 2772-2777.
Rustom, I., 1997. Aflatoxin in food and feed: occurrence, legislation and inactivation by physical methods. Food Chemistry 59: 57-67.
Sherif, S.O., Salama, E.E. and Abdel-Wahhab, M.A., 2009. Mycotoxins and child health: the need for health risk assessment. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 212: 347-368.
Shetty, P.H. and Jespersen, L., 2006. Saccharomyces cerevisiae and lactic acid bacteria as potential mycotoxin decontaminating agents. Trends in Food Science and Technology 17: 48-55.
Sivaraman, E., Conrad, P.L. and Brorsen, B., 2002. A general framework for grain blending and segregation. Agribusiness 20: 155-161.
Taheri, N., Semnani, S., Roshandel, G., Namjoo, M., Keshavarzian, H., Chogan, A.G., Ghasemi Kebria, F. and Joshaghani, H., 2012. Aflatoxin contamination in wheat flour samples from Golestan province, northeast of Iran. Iranian Journal of Public Health 41: 42.
Thammawong, M., Okabe, M., Kawasaki, T., Nakagawa, H., Nagashima, H., Okadome, H., Nakajima, T. and Kushiro, M., 2010. Distribution of deoxynivalenol and nivalenol in milling fractions from Fusariuminfected Japanese wheat cultivars. Journal of Food Protection 73: 1817-1823.
Vidal, A., Marin, S., Ramos, A.J., Cano-Sancho, G. and Sanchis, V., 2013. Determination of aflatoxins, deoxynivalenol, ochratoxin a and zearalenone in wheat and oat based bran supplements sold in the Spanish market. Food and Chemical Toxicology 53: 133-138.
Wu, F., 2004. Mycotoxin risk assessment for the purpose of setting international regulatory standards. Environmental Science and Technology 38: 4049-4055.
Zain, M.E., 2011. Impact of mycotoxins on humans and animals. Journal of Saudi Chemical Society 15: 129-144.