Mycotoxins & Child Health

Mycotoxins in cornMycotoxins are produced by molds (fungi) that contaminate foods. The consumption of mycotoxins has been linked to adverse health effects in human studies and immune suppression and growth faltering in animal studies. Our work is focused on aflatoxin, fumonisin and deoxynivalenol, mycotoxins that are widespread in diets based on maize and groundnuts, especially where those foods are grown in small plots of land under stress of drought, pests, or poor soil.

We want to describe the extent that African mothers and young children consume these toxins, and whether this affects the growth, health, and development of the child, before or after birth.  In order to study mycotoxins and child health, we are collaborating with plant pathologists, engineers, and toxicologists to find low-cost accurate ways to identify the toxins in foods and in human biosamples.  We are also building a network of collaborators to develop interventions to prevent these toxins from entering human diets.

Projects

Mycotoxin Mitigation & Stunting: A Planning Grant for Trial of Mycotoxin Mitigation and Stunting in the First 1000 Days.

Mycotoxins & Birth Outcomes: Mycotoxin Exposure in Pregnancy and Birth Outcomes.

Mycotoxins & Child Growth: Exploring potential causal link between mycotoxins, gut dysfunction and stunting in young children.

People

Rebecca StoltzfusLaura Smith, Erica Philips.