Comparison of thin-layer chromatography, spectrofluorimetry and bright greenish-yellow fluorescence test for aflatoxin detection in corn

In this study the bright greenish-yellow fluorescence test, widely used by the corn milling industry, was compared to the thin-layer chromatography (TLC) and spectrofluorimetry methods for aflatoxin detection in 40 corn samples naturally contaminated by the Aspergillus section Flavi. According to the corn processing industry criteria, all the samples were adequate for human and animal consumption by the bright greenish-yellow fluorescence test, but TLC and spectrofluorimetry analysis detected aflatoxins above the maximum tolerated limit (20 µg/kg) in 7 and 8 samples, respectively. Aflatoxins were detected in 16 (40%) corn samples by TLC, with levels ranging from 4.0 to 54.0 µg/kg (mean 19.97 ± 15.97 µg/kg), and in 25 (62.5%) samples by spectrofluorimetry, with levels ranging from 1.0 to 58.66 µg/kg (mean 17.14 ± 17.81 µg/kg). The results indicated a good correlation (ρ = 0.97) between TLC and spectrofluorimetry for aflatoxin determination in naturally contaminated corn. The bright greenish-yellow fluorescence test was simple and quick, but it showed 20% false-negative results, suggesting its use only as screening method for detecting the suspected lots of grains that should be tested further for aflatoxin by more sensitive methods.

Thin-Layer Chromatography; spectrofluorimetry; BGYF; aflatoxins; corn; mycotoxins

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