Occurrence of aflatoxin B1 in pistachio nuts during various preparing processes: tracing from Iran

Document Type : Original Articles


1 Department of Food Hygiene and Aquatics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran

2 Laboratory of Food Quality Control and Drug Residues, Veterinary Medicine Office, Gazvin, Iran

3 Department of Pathobiology, Division of Mycology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran

4 Department of Food Hygiene, Faculty of Para-Veterinary Science, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran


Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is a secondary metabolite produced by some Aspergillus species, which have
harmful impacts on human health such as carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, acute and chronic toxicity.
In this study, the occurrence of AFB1 in pistachio nuts during various preparing processes was
investigated in two pistachio farms from Qazvin province, Iran, from September to November 2012.
High Performance detected level of AFB1 and Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) contained
fluorescence detector using especial immunoaffinity columns. The results showed that AFB1 was
present in the samples (100%) in during pre-harvesting, harvesting and post-harvesting stages. The
highest mean value of AFB1 (27.58±2.12 μg/kg) was found in pistachio samples after harvesting
process. Forty-six of 84 pistachio nuts (54.76%) in various process periods exceeded the maximum
tolerable limit (2μg/kg) that set for AFB1 by European Union regulations. In addition, the results
indicated that AFB1 levels in the samples had increased over storage time (P<0.05). As a result, postharvest
and storage strategies are the best time to prevent mold growth and aflatoxins production.