Aflatoxin and Ochratoxin A Detection: Traditional and Current Methods

  • Shraddha Rahi
  • Priyanka Choudhari
  • Vandana Ghormade


Mycotoxins such as aflatoxin and ochratoxin A are secondary metabolites secreted by Aspergillus and Penicillium species. These fungal species flourish in foodstuff and feeds under appropriate temperature and humidity conditions to produce mycotoxins. Aflatoxins are known carcinogens and ochratoxin A causes nephrotoxicity. The contamination of mycotoxins in food and feed, persistence during food processing, and toxicity make them a primary health hazard. Therefore, determination of aflatoxin and ochratoxin A contamination bears a critical importance. Classical methods like chromatographic separation including thin-layer chromatography, high-performance liquid chromatography, and mass spectroscopy are described. Detection of the causal organism by molecular approaches employing PCR and real-time PCR may contribute in early detection. Recently, immunochemical-based methods like enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and electrical, optical, and piezoelectric immunosensors are being used for the screening purposes. Such detection platforms are portable, reducing the dependence on costly instrumentation. Current strategies to improve the mycotoxin detection involve nanotechnology-enabled sensors. One of the main challenges for the detection of mycotoxin contamination is the co-occurrence of two or more toxins in food and feed samples. The incorporation of novel recognition elements such as antibodies, peptides, or aptamers with nanoparticles for LFA and immunosensors has immense potential for simultaneously sensitive, specific, and cost-effective multitoxin analysis. Such devices will contribute to improved detection of toxic secondary fungal metabolites critical in food safety, human health, and food trade.


Aflatoxin Ochratoxin A Chromatographic detection Immunochemical methods PCR Nanotechnology Lateral flow assay Multitoxin detection 



VG and PC thank the Department of Biotechnology and Department of Science and Technology, Government of India for the funding (BT/PR10455/PFN/20/869/2013 & DST/INT/MECICO/P-06/2016). SR thanks the Department of Science and Technology for Junior Research Fellowship under INSPIRE program.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shraddha Rahi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Priyanka Choudhari
    • 1
  • Vandana Ghormade
    • 1
  1. 1.NanobioscienceAgharkar Research InstitutePuneIndia
  2. 2.Savitribai Phule Pune UniversityPuneIndia

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