Levels of Ochratoxin A and Aflatoxins in Cocoa Beans from Four Cocoa Growing Regions in Ghana

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May, 2017
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Ochratoxin A (OTA) and aflatoxins are important mycotoxins in the food industry. They are produced by toxins producing fungi which contaminate agricultural produce either on farm, after harvesting (during storage) or during transport depending on the environmental condition of exposure. Processing of cocoa into semi-finished and finished products does not completely eliminate OTA and aflatoxins hence measures should be put in place to prevent contamination of these toxicants. In this study sixty samples (thirty shelled and thirty unshelled cocoa beans) were obtained from districts in four cocoa growing regions in Ghana namely Western-South, Western-North, Ashanti and Central regions. Samples were extracted and purified before analysis. A modified QuEChERS-HPLC method with fluorescence detector was used to quantify the mycotoxins of interest. The results showed that no OTA or aflatoxins were detected under the experimental conditions. Results were identical for both shelled and unshelled beans. These results suggest that cocoa beans cultivated from the districts on under study satisfy international limits, and after further processing for consumption will not cause any likely health implications and economic loss from mycotoxin contamination.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Food Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the degree of Master of Science in Food Quality Management.