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Correlation Between Aflatoxin Contamination and Various USDA Grade Categories of Shelled Almonds

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The California almond industry is interested in determining if there is a correlation between aflatoxin contamination and almonds classified into various U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grades. A 12 000 g sample was taken from each of 50 lots of shelled almonds. The almonds in each sample were then partitioned into five USDA grades: high quality (HQ), insect damage (ID), mold damage (MOD), mechanical damage (MED), and other defects (OD). Across all 50 samples, kernels in the HQ grade accounted for 83.7 of the kernel mass and 3.2 of the aflatoxin mass. Conversely, kernels in the remaining four damage grades (ID, MOD, MED, and OD) accounted for 16.3 of the kernel mass and 96.8 of the aflatoxin mass. ID kernels had the highest risk for aflatoxin contamination. Almonds in the ID grade accounted for 76.3 of the total aflatoxin mass and 7.2 of the kernel mass. Regression equations were developed to predict the aflatoxin concentration in each 12 000 g sample by measuring the aflatoxin mass in one or more of the four damage grades. Regression equations demonstrated that aflatoxin mass only in the insect damaged kernels was also an effective way to predict the aflatoxin concentration in each 12 000 g sample.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, North Carolina State University, Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, Box 7625, Raleigh, NC 27695-7625. 2: North Carolina State University, Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, Box 7625, Raleigh, NC 27695-7625. 3: Almond Board of California, 1150 9th St, Suite 1500, Modesto, CA 95354. 4: Blue Diamond Growers, 1802 C St, Sacramento, CA 95812.

Publication date: May 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL publishes refereed papers and reviews in the fields of chemical, biological and toxicological analytical chemistry for the purpose of showcasing the most precise, accurate and sensitive methods for analysis of foods, food additives, supplements and contaminants, cosmetics, drugs, toxins, hazardous substances, pesticides, feeds, fertilizers and the environment available at that point in time. The scope of the Journal includes unpublished original research describing new analytical methods, techniques and applications; improved approaches to sampling, both in the field and the laboratory; better methods of preparing samples for analysis; collaborative studies substantiating the performance of a given method; statistical techniques for evaluating data. The Journal will also publish other articles of general interest to its audience, e.g., technical communications; cautionary notes; comments on techniques, apparatus, and reagents.
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