- A toxin produced by mold that is hepatotoxic (can damage the liver) and may possibly lead to liver cancer. Aflatoxins are known to cause cancer in animals. The fungi that produce aflatoxin grow on crops such as peanuts (especially) and wheat, corn, beans and rice. Aflatoxin is a problem particularly in undeveloped and developing countries. Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring mycotoxin produced by two types of mold: Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. Aspergillus flavus is common and widespread in nature and is most often found when certain grains are grown under stressful conditions such as drought. The mold occurs in soil, decaying vegetation, hay, and grains undergoing microbiological deterioration and invades all types of organic substrates whenever and wherever the conditions are favorable for its growth. Favorable conditions include high moisture content and high temperature. At least 13 different types of aflatoxin are produced in nature with aflatoxin B1 considered as the most toxic. While the presence of Aspergillus flavus does not always indicate harmful levels of aflatoxin it does mean that the potential for aflatoxin production is present.
* * *Toxic metabolites of some Aspergillus strains including the fungi Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus parasiticus, and Aspergillus oryzae. They may play a role in the etiology of primary cancer of the liver in humans and produce disease in animals eating peanut meal and other feed contaminated by these fungi.
* * *af·la·tox·in .af-lə-'täk-sən n any of several carcinogenic mycotoxins that are produced esp. in stored agricultural crops (as peanuts) by molds (as Aspergillus flavus)
* * *n.a poisonous substance produced in the spores of the fungus Aspergillus flavus, which infects peanuts. The toxin is known to produce cancer in certain animals and is suspected of being the cause of liver cancers in human beings living in warm and humid regions of the world, where stored nuts and cereals are contaminated by the fungus.
* * *af·la·tox·in (afґlə-tok″sin) a toxic factor produced by Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus, molds contaminating seedlings of peanut plants (Arachis hypogaea). Domestic fowl and other animals fed with infected peanut meal may die of aflatoxicosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, or cholangiocarcinoma. It has also been implicated as a cause of human hepatic carcinoma.
Medical dictionary. 2011.