A validated culturally specific dietary assessment method was used to determine the habitual maize intakes of black Xhosa-speaking Africans living in the Centane region of the Eastern Cape Province to assess their exposure to the carcinogenic fumonisin mycotoxins. The mean total dry weight maize intakes of home-grown, commercial or combined (both maize sources) were 474, 344, 462 g day(-1), respectively. When considering the total mean levels of fumonisin in home-grown maize (1142 microg kg(-1)) and commercial maize (222 microg kg(-1)), the probable daily intakes (PDI's), expressed as microg kg(-1) body weight day(-1) were 12.1 (95%CI: 0.3-4926.5) and 1.3 (95%CI: 1.0-1.8) for men and 6.7 (95%CI: 1.0-457.8) and 1.1 (95%CI: 0.9-1.3) for women, consuming home-grown and commercial maize, respectively. Based on the different maize-based beer drinking frequencies the PDI's varied between 6.9 and 12.0 microg kg(-1)/drinking event. Depending on the maize intake patterns an exposure "window" exists where fumonisin exposure is below the recommended group provisional maximum tolerable daily intake (PMTDI) for fumonisins of 2 microg kg(-1)bw day(-1). The assessment of fumonisin exposure and development of preventative strategies depend, not only the accurate determination of total fumonisin levels in maize, but also on the distinct dietary patterns of a specific population.
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