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Aim: To investigate the levels of total aflatoxin (AF) in herbal medicines from selected vendors in South- Eastern Nigeria.
Study Design: This is a cross-sectional study designed to investigate the levels of aflatoxin (AF) mycotoxin in herbal traditional medicines selected randomly from vendor dealers in Ebonyi State of Nigeria. Fifty-seven (57) herbal medicine samples were obtained from local markets and stores in Ebonyi state, Nigeria.
Place and Duration of Study: This study was carried out at Abakaliki, Ezza-North, Afikpo North, Ohaukwu, Ikwo in Ebonyi State, Nigeria. This study covered a period of one year from April, 2018 to April, 2019.
Methodology: Fifty-seven (57) herbal medicine samples were analyzed to detect the level of aflatoxin (AF) mycotoxins with the controls. They were selected with self-administered questionnaire using a multistage random sampling technique. Wet extraction was performed on the liquid herbal samples whereas aflatoxin occurrence and levels were evaluated using lateral flow immunoassay technique. Data were analyzed using One sample t-test and descriptive statistics and statistical significance was set at P ≤ 0.05.
Results: The incidence of Aflatoxin contamination in the samples were 48(84.21%) out of 57 herbal medicines examined with the highest level seen in African Iba herbal (20.00±2.00 ppb) and the lowest level seen in Dunamis and Divine roots herbals (0.00 ± 0.00). Data from the analysis of herbal medicine samples showed different concentration range of mycotoxins AFs (0-20 ppb).
Conclusion: Although aflatoxins concentration observed in the herbal samples were below Nigerian and European Union (EU) upper limits of 20 ppb, the high incidence rate observed in the study should be of concern to public health. The policy makers in the Nigerian agricultural and health sectors have been provided with research evidence as contained in this study on the dangers posed by consumption of some herbal medicines as a result of their aflatoxin contamination.
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