AFLATOXINS- A DILEMMA TO OUR CHILI EXPORT

(By Dr. Zahoor Hussain, Mujahid Ali, Shahla Rashid, Tehseen Ashraf)

(Department of Horticulture, College of Agriculture, University of Sargodha)

We have a lot of chili production in Pakistan with some good cultivars. Pakistan is a great producer of chili in the world. During glut season we waste our chilies due to poor management practices and storage conditions. In this way chilies produce poison production (aflatoxins). Not only chilies but other crops can also produce aflatoxins. Not only humans but livestock also have been suffered from these chemicals. The word “aflatoxins” was used in the mid-1960’s the point at which the demise of a great many turkeys and other local creatures was the attack of Aspergillus flavus poisons in groundnut feast imported from South America and poultry face same situation in the United Kingdom. The endless influence of the very low concentration of aflatoxin on domesticated animals is reported. It was also present in groundnut which was food for birds. In India, in 1974 about 400 people were ill with fever and jaundice after eating infected maize crop. In Kenya, in 2004 about 317 people were affected and 125 died by eating contaminated maize.

Aflatoxins are poisons metabolites created by molds which are found all through the world. Aflatoxin might be created before and after harvest. Dried figs and other dried organic products, chilies and paprika, groundnuts, pistachios and other eatable nuts and grains are foodstuffs distinguished as exceedingly defenseless to aflatoxin contamination. Aflatoxins are the most intense cancer-causing agents of mycotoxins. It is the most ordinarily discovered poison in bean stew and paprika flavor. Aflatoxins are just delivered by a few strains of Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus molds on the off chance that they experience proper situations. The most intense aflatoxins are B1, B2, G1, and G2, all of which have been found in pepper and paprika spice.

Dry season stress favors pre-harvest contamination. Post-harvest taking care of amid the stormy season favors post-harvest aflatoxin contamination.  Diseased natural products that aren’t expelled after harvest, as they bear a danger of mold contamination that could prompt aflatoxin generation. Drying temperature is too low bringing about a long drying time. In this manner, the dampness substance isn’t diminished rapidly and mold danger increments.  Moisture substance of the item above 11% amid capacity permits contagious development and above 14% permits aflatoxin amassing. Temperature above 13°C permits aflatoxin production.

Different genotypes of paprika and pepper that have thin skin and maximum dry matter contents should be selected. Plants ought to be steady and have a natural product setting, which guarantees that organic products don’t get in contact with the dirt.  Fruits ought not to be powerless to internal mold. In the event of the separate dry spell before reaping, harvests ought to be inundated to maintain a strategic distance from anxiety. Contact moisture with the natural products ought to be avoided as this expands danger of microbial pollution.  Reaping and drying time ought to be as short as could reasonably be expected. This incorporates transport from the field to post-harvest offices; sorting and arrangement for fast drying. After gathering unhealthy and harmed organic products must be evacuated. Cutting of natural products into little pieces (2.5 x 2.5 cm for paprika) to accomplish fast drying is suggested. This technique lessens drying time by 50 to 80%. In any case, cutting additionally gives parasites access to natural product tissues. In this way, cutting must be done rapidly and ought to be finished by a programmed shredder. Time amongst cutting and drying must be minimized. Hygienic taking care of is an unquestionable requirement.  It is vital to reach rapidly a “protected” dampness content. That implies a dampness content of ca. 8 % which is achieved by drying inside 48 hours. If the chilies are at a “dangerous” dampness content for more than 48 hours, mold can develop, and mycotoxins are created. A drying strategy which needs over 48 hours to achieve this level must be made strides. Sun oriented drying is an exceptionally biological and prudent strategy, however, uses high temperatures what’s more, and does not rapidly dry natural products to low dampness content. High temperatures do bring about cocoa staining of the flavor. On the off chance that the climate conditions are not ideal because of the downpour, cloud, and so on, drying temperatures are lessened and drying times are expanded, conceivably permitting aflatoxin congregation.

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Mechanical dryers regularly deliver superior and more uniform pieces of chilies. Modern dryers frequently utilize a higher temperature of 60°C at first, until the moisture contents drop. At that point, after around 6 hours the temperature is lessened to around 45°C to abstain from sautéing amid the last drying. Heat pump dryers work at around 40-45°C and low relative dampness, are conservative to run and result in a decent quality item. In any case, if a low humidity is not kept up because of over-burdening of the dryer, mold development happen to diminish the nature of the taste. After drying the chilies should be bundled rapidly in a low stickiness environment inside a dampness boundary, e.g. tea sacks or paper packs having a plastic sack outside. Capacity temperature beneath 13°C stops aflatoxin aggregation, as well. It may if the pieces are reasonably dried and water/air proof stuffed this is not an unquestionable requirement, but rather an extra estimation. Likewise, solid sanitation hones should be executed to minimize the level of contagious defilement of nature. Grinding ought to just be done presently before shipment. Pounding should be possible by a hammer plant.

Packing materials play a key role in this regard. Vacuum packing is superlative to keep long shelf life of bean stew bean/paprika powder. The shelf life is the time until the extractable color has declined underneath the standard. The red color of paprika and chilies is because of carotenoids. Loss of red color is brought on by the autoxidation of the carotenoids. Carotenoids are extremely steady when they are available in plant tissues, however, when the plant tissues are handled, carotenoids get to be detached and defenseless against the impacts of warmth, light, and high oxygen pressure. The shelf life of powder amid capacity at a temperature of 37°C is just 2 to 3 weeks. Various factors impact the rate of autooxidation of carotenoids, for instance, cultivar, heat along with drying and capacity, and of oxygen. Ground paprika and stew break down in shading quicker amid capacity than entirety natural products because of the expansion in substance surface presented to oxidation. Powder should be put away in cool conditions, which will diminish the development of free radicals that participate in carotenoid oxidation and reason for shading misfortune. Moreover, powder should be put away out of light. To keep away from contact with oxygen vacuum pressing is a possible strategy. Frequently a specialized arrangement is moderately simple to discover, however, usage is the issue. To stay away from aflatoxin pollution you can abbreviate the pre-drying taking care of time; enhance the drying strategy, stockpiling subsequent to drying, the hygienic viewpoints and assist the showcasing method for the item to the client etc.

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Sun drying additionally brings the about poor shade of the pods because of the blanching impact of sunrays. These issues can be maintained a strategic distance from by altering the technique for drying. In basic sun drying, leveled and reduced yards are made and these yards are put with mud soil to keep away from the dust or earth defilement. While drying, the product is protected with polythene sheets. Sunlight based dryer and plate dryer can likewise be utilized, which spares the season of drying operation as well as bestow dark red shading and shiny surface to the produce. These dryers additionally keep away from the re-wetting of produce because of unforeseen rainstorms. It is recommended that in case of chilies moisture percentage and relative humidity should not be more than 14 and 60 for each percent. Bean stew produce should be avoided from bugs like creepy crawlies, molds, rodents and winged creatures. No bug sprays ought to, under any circumstances, be utilized straightforwardly on bean stew produce. Put away material should be subjected to occasional fumigation. If we adopt all these measures, we can save our food from such poisonous chemicals.

Now there will be an era of horticulture in Pakistan due to CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) as horticultural crops have an extreme opportunity for export. But our farmers are unaware its importance. We must have to make our pre and post-harvest factors/conditions along with storage techniques well. If we become able to do this, we can export our chilies in developed countries.

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