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Safe and Effectice Extraction Process for Contaminated Foods

Giletto, Antony
Lynntech, Inc
Start date
End date

DESCRIPTION: Food-borne toxins such as mycotoxins and gossypol continue to impact human health in diverse ways, including negative effects on reproduction, neurological function, developmental biology, renal and respiratory function, susceptibility to infectious disease, and development of cancer. The eventual impact on human and animal health depends on the frequency and amount of either acute or chronic exposure through foods. Cottonseed could potentially provide the protein requirements of half a billion people in areas of the world where malnutrition and starvation are rampant; however, the synergistic combination of gossypol and aflatoxins in cottonseed meal are of particular concern because of the acute effects on the liver, the reproduction system, and other organ systems and the chronic impact of low-level aflatoxin exposure on development of hepatocellular carcinoma and impaired immune function. Recent outbreaks due to acute exposure of humans and dogs to aflatoxin in 2004 and 2005, respectively, have reiterated the persistence of these chemical contaminants in food and the probable broad impact of chronic exposure on cancer risk in humans. Importantly, Lynntech's approach also enables extraction without the use of hexane - a toxic and heavily regulated solvent. Lynntech has developed a solvent-based technical approach for isolation of aflatoxins from any grain or oilseed, with successes based on polarity of the toxin and the ability of the solvent to partition aflatoxin into the liquid phase. Additionally during the course of our research we discovered that this process can also be applied to the removal of toxic gossypol from cottonseed product. The industry standard solvent (hexane) does a very good job at extracting vegetable oil; however, hexane is ineffective at removing aflatoxin from the high value protein/starch fraction (meal) leaving behind 100% of the aflatoxin in the solid food and feed component. Lynntech's approach is also effective for extraction of vegetable oil from grains and oilseeds with the added benefit of removing aflatoxin from the meal. Importantly, the aflatoxin partitions into the liquid oil/solvent micelle where it can be further isolated into a non-food component and where the toxin can be aggressively detoxified using ozone gas.
PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Aflatoxins are naturally occurring carcinogens that, despite regulation in diverse foods and feedstuffs, remain a health hazard to humans and animals both in the US and worldwide. There are no practical methods to isolate and destroy these toxins in contaminated raw agricultural commodities, forcing food producers and processors to choose between blending with available clean commodities or destroying the contaminated grains or oilseeds. The proposed innovation utilizes a new two-stage process integrated within the existing global industrial infrastructure in oilseed extraction to decontaminate commodities, allowing for safe, market- competitive food fractions and reduced cancer risk.

Funding Source
Food and Drug Administration
Project source
View this project
Project number
Bacterial Pathogens
Natural Toxins