How to reduce Aflatoxin in maize
Aflatoxin is a fungal metabolite that is dangerous when consumed in food. Maize is one of the best hosts of aflatoxin and it can easily exceed a certain amount posing it as a threat to human health. Aflatoxin, when consumed in high levels, can lead to liver cancer, child growth stunting, and suppresses the immunity. It can also also be found in cassava, groundnuts, rice, sorghum, wheat, and other plant varieties.
Aflatoxin is a major issue that is posing many health problems to consumers. Over time, research has been made to find a solution to the poisonous aflatoxin. Alfasafe is a bio-control product that helps reduce aflatoxin infestation in maize. You can learn more about alfasafe here. Also, it is important to follow all the guidelines to know its safe use.
How to use Alfasafe?
Alfasafe is a natural product that helps control poisonous aflatoxin in food crops like maize. Even if you are intercropping your crops, alfasafe can not harm your other crops. It helps plants to grow well if applied 2-3 weeks before flowering. Alfasafe greatly helps reduce 80% of aflatoxin incidence.
In addition to that, plant breeders can also aid in reducing aflatoxin levels in maize through developing resistant plant varieties. Environmental variables also tend to influence the prevalence of aflatoxin in maize plants.
Image courtesy: aflasafe website
How to manage aflatoxin in the various plant stages
1) Farm preparation
You can also reduce aflatoxin prevalence through proper farm practices, matching drying capacity, proper drying, proper drain cooling after drying and, remove broken corns, proper storage practices. Also, ensure you sanitize the equipment you use to help reduce aflatoxin contamination.
2) Pre-harvest stage
The Aspergillus flavus fungi -that causes aflatoxin can survive in soil and crops for long, and can easily develop in a new plant. Thus, to help reduce this, you can engage in
- deep ploughing
- and removal of crop debris
That’s why it is recommended to apply alfasafe two to three weeks before flowering. This will help reduce aflatoxin developing in the plant.
3) Harvesting practices
It is vital to harvest maize at a moisture content of below 15% to help reduce aflatoxin development. That’s why farmers need to be careful during the harvesting stage and consult relevant stakeholders.
It is also essential to store the maize well. Many farmers store harvested maize in piled up bags on a bare floor, leveled against the wall. This is what results in dampness and increases aflatoxin in the grains. As a farmer, even if you won’t sell the maize immediately, ensure you check the moisture content regularly. That’s why it is important to dry the kernels before selling them to the millers.
It is important to take all the relevant measures to ensure you maintain maize while in the farm and also after harvesting. Always ensure to carry out all the agricultural practices to prepare your land for planting. Also, it is wiser to apply alfasafe after rains or when rains are being forecast. It works effectively when the soil is moist.