Toxins (Basel). 2021 Mar 3;13(3):186. doi: 10.3390/toxins13030186.
Aflatoxins (AFs) are some of the most agriculturally important and harmful mycotoxins. At least 20 AFs have been identified to this date. Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), the most potent fungal toxin, can cause toxicity in many species, including humans. AFs are produced by 22 species of Aspergillus section Flavi, 4 species of A. section Nidulantes, and 2 species of A. section Ochraceorosei. The most important and well-known AF-producing species of section Flavi are Aspergillus flavus, A. parasiticus, and A. nomius. AFs contaminate a wide range of crops (mainly groundnuts, pistachio nuts, dried figs, hazelnuts, spices, almonds, rice, melon seeds, Brazil nuts, and maize). Foods of animal origin (milk and animal tissues) are less likely contributors to human AF exposure. Despite the efforts to mitigate the AF concentrations in foods, and thus enhance food safety, AFs continue to be present, even at high levels. AFs thus remain a current and continuously pressing problem in the world.