Abstract

The fungus Aspergillus flavus Link ex Fries can infect grains and oil seeds and develop Aflatoxin B1 (AfB1) in the field or in storage. Aflatoxin contamination is a serious health hazard – it is extremely toxic and hepatocarcinogenic for animals and humans. A practical approach to solve this problem is to use smectite clay as an amendment to animal feed. The objective of this research is to investigate smectite clay–AfB1 interactions by employing Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy to determine how clay composition influences AfB1 adsorption by smectites. When AfB1 was present in the clay, the spectral region from 1800 to 1300 cm−1 was altered, and the regions between 4000 and 1800 and 1300 and 400 cm−1 were unchanged except for the intensity in the broad region near 3400 cm−1 related to the abundance of water. The 1300–400 cm−1 region is attributed only to smectite clay properties, and it relates to the relative adsorption potential of the different smectites. Bonding between AfB1 and smectite clay appears to be in the furan rings. Other possible bonding is with the two oxygens in the coumarin ring of AfB1 and interlayer cations or their associated water molecules. The FTIR evidence of octahedral Fe in smectite and amorphous silica in the clays both indicate greater AfB1 adsorption potential. Other smectites with spectral absorption indicating predominantly Al in the octahedral positions adsorbed less AfB1.

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