Occurrence and Human-Health Impacts of Mycotoxins in Somalia

Ewa Wielogorska*, Mark Mooney, Mari Eskola, Chibundu N. Ezekiel, Milena Stranska, Rudolf Krska, Chris Elliott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by various molds that contaminate many staple foods and cause a broad range of detrimental health effects in animals and humans through chronic exposure or acute toxicity. As such, the worldwide contamination of food and feed with mycotoxins is a significant problem, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. In this study, mycotoxin occurrence in staple foods consumed in Somalia was determined. A total of 140 samples (42 maize, 40 sorghum, and 58 wheat) were collected from a number of markets in Mogadishu, Somalia, and analyzed by a UPLC-MS/MS multimycotoxin method that could detect 77 toxins. All of the maize samples tested contained eight or more mycotoxins, with aflatoxin B 1 (AFB 1 ) and fumonisin B 1 (FB 1 ) levels reaching up to 908 and 17 322 μg/kg, respectively, greatly exceeding the European Union limits and guidance values. The average probable daily intake of fumonisins (FB 1 and FB 2 ) was 16.70 μg per kilogram of body weight (kg bw) per day, representing 835% of the recommended provisional maximum tolerable daily intake value of 2 μg/(kg bw)/day. A risk characterization revealed a mean national margin of exposure of 0.62 for AFB 1 with an associated risk of developing primary liver cancer estimated at 75 cancers per year per 100 000 people for white-maize consumption alone. The results clearly indicate that aflatoxin and fumonisin exposure is a major public-health concern and that risk-management actions require prioritization in Somalia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2052-2060
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number7
Early online date29 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2019


  • exposure assessment
  • food safety
  • mycotoxins
  • risk characterization
  • Somalia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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