Mycotoxins & Birth Outcomes

Mycotoxin Exposure in Pregnancy and Birth Outcomes in Zimbabwe

A low birth weight (LBW) infant

A low birth weight (LBW) infant.

None of these toxins or their combination has been rigorously studied with regard to pregnancy outcomes.  The objective of this application is to characterize pregnancy exposure to multiple mycotoxins and its relation to birth outcomes in the SHINE Trial.  Our over-arching hypothesis is that mycotoxin exposure (i.e. aflatoxins, fumonisins or deoxy-nevalenol) is an important cause of adverse birth outcomes globally.  Our long-term goal is to understand the effect of mycotoxin exposure on maternal and child health in Zimbabwe and by doing so, to inform the development of more effective child health interventions and food safety policy globally.

Research team: Rebecca Stoltzfus, Laura Smith

Funding: Funded by the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, USAID Bureau for Food Security, and USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture.


Smith LE, Prendergast AJ, Turner P, Humphrey JH, Stoltzfus RJ. Aflatoxin Exposure During Pregnancy, Maternal Anemia, and Adverse Birth Outcomes. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2017 March: 770-776

Smith LE, Mbuya MNN, Prendergast AJ, Turner P, Ruboko S, Humphrey JH, Nelson RJ, Chigumira A, Kembo G, Stoltzfus RJ. Determinants of recent aflatoxin exposure among pregnant women in rural Zimbabwe. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 2017 July: Online.