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Lecture of Dr Yun Yun Gong for Visiting Jiangsu University

Dr Yun Yun Gong, Associate Professor in International Food Safety

School of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK


Lecture for Students and Teachers

Title: Measuring aflatoxin exposure in six African countries

Time: Jul. 4, 2018, 15:00 am.

Place: Room 203, School of Food and Biological Engineering


Introduction to Dr Yun Yun Gong:

Dr Yun Yun Gong is an associate professor in international food safety in the University of Leeds. She has a PhD degree in Food toxicology and started her research career at the University of Leeds in 2000. She has a strong research interest on dietary exposure to toxic chemicals (especially mycotoxins) and their impact on human health outcomes e.g. child stunting, cancer and reproductive health. More recently this is expanded to the detection and prevention of food born toxins exposure in high risk populations. Her other research interests include understanding the relationship between diet and cancer, and conducting food safety risk assessment at a global perspective. She collaborates with multi-disciplinary expertise from agriculture, plant science, health science and food safety policy makers. Her research was funded by the Bill and Gates Melinda Foundation, the Royal Society UK, the NIEHS in the US, etc. Dr Gong was a Scientific Visitor at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2013 and a working group member evaluating aflatoxin and human health for the WHO/IARC. She is a working group member for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and an advisory role in China National Center for Food Safety and Risk Assessment (CFSA) on mycotoxin risk assessment.


Abstract:

Aflatoxins are carcinogenic, they have been implicated to have other adverse health impacts, including child growth impairment and immune function suppression. Aflatoxin B1 is the most toxic and most common of the aflatoxins. Contamination of various food crops is common in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in maize and groundnuts, leading to chronic dietary exposure in many populations. For many years we have used the aflatoxin albumin adduct as a biomarker of aflatoxin exposure, assessed using a competitive inhibition enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Our recent studies of human exposure in six African countries; Gambia, Guinea, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda shows the widespread exposure of vulnerable populations to aflatoxin. Geometric mean (95% confidence interval) levels of the biomarker ranged from 9.7 pg/mg (8.2, 11.5) in Ugandan children to 578.5 pg/mg (461.4, 717.6) in Kenyan adolescents during an acute aflatoxicosis outbreak year. Various factors may have influenced the variation in aflatoxin exposure. Together, these studies highlight the urgent need for interventions to reduce the burden of aflatoxin exposure in sub-Saharan Africa.


(School of Food and Biological Engineering)

 

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