As a class of mycotoxins with regulatory and public health significance, aflatoxins (e.g., aflatoxin B1
) have attracted unparalleled attention from government, academia and industry due to their chronic and acute toxicity. Aflatoxins are secondary metabolites of various Aspergillus
species, which are ubiquitous in the environment and can grow on a variety of crops whereby accumulation is impacted by climate influences. Consumption of foods and feeds contaminated by aflatoxins are hazardous to human and animal health, hence the detection and quantification of aflatoxins in foods and feeds is a priority from the viewpoint of food safety. Since the first purification and identification of aflatoxins from feeds in the 1960s, there have been continuous efforts to develop sensitive and rapid methods for the determination of aflatoxins. This review aims to provide a comprehensive overview on advances in aflatoxins analysis and highlights the importance of sample pretreatments, homogenization and various cleanup strategies used in the determination of aflatoxins. The use of liquid-liquid extraction (LLE), supercritical fluid extraction (SFE), solid phase extraction (SPE) and immunoaffinity column clean-up (IAC) and dilute and shoot for enhancing extraction efficiency and clean-up are discussed. Furthermore, the analytical techniques such as gas chromatography (GC), liquid chromatography (LC), mass spectrometry (MS), capillary electrophoresis (CE) and thin-layer chromatography (TLC) are compared in terms of identification, quantitation and throughput. Lastly, with the emergence of new techniques, the review culminates with prospects of promising technologies for aflatoxin analysis in the foreseeable future.
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