In a survey of starch-based foods sampled from retail outlets in Malaysia, fungal colonies were mostly detected in wheat flour (100%), followed by rice flour (74%), glutinous rice grains (72%), ordinary rice grains (60%), glutinous rice flour (48%) and corn flour (26%). All positive samples of ordinary rice and glutinous rice grains had total fungal counts below 10(3) cfu/g sample, while among the positive rice flour, glutinous rice flour and corn flour samples, the highest total fungal count was more than 10(3) but less than 10(4) cfu/g sample respectively. However, in wheat flour samples total fungal count ranged from 10(2) cfu/g sample to slightly more than 10(4) cfu/g sample. Aflatoxigenic colonies were mostly detected in wheat flour (20%), followed by ordinary rice grains (4%), glutinous rice grains (4%) and glutinous rice flour (2%). No aflatoxigenic colonies were isolated from rice flour and corn flour samples. Screening of aflatoxin B1, aflatoxin B2, aflatoxin G1 and aflatoxin G2 using reversed-phase HPLC were carried out on 84 samples of ordinary rice grains and 83 samples of wheat flour. Two point four percent (2.4%) of ordinary rice grains were positive for aflatoxin G1 and 3.6% were positive for aflatoxin G2. All the positive samples were collected from private homes at concentrations ranging from 3.69-77.50 micrograms/kg. One point two percent (1.2%) of wheat flour samples were positive for aflatoxin B1 at a concentration of 25.62 micrograms/kg, 4.8% were positive for aflatoxin B2 at concentrations ranging from 11.25-252.50 micrograms/kg, 3.6% were positive for aflatoxin G1 at concentrations ranging from 25.00-289.38 micrograms/kg and 13.25% were positive for aflatoxin G2 at concentrations ranging from 16.25-436.25 micrograms/kg. Similarly, positive wheat flour samples were mostly collected from private homes.
A total of 402 Escherichia coli isolates were obtained from a variety of food samples and screened for enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC). Screening was carried out using 15 specific monovalent antisera from Murex Diagnostic Limited. A total of 19 E. coli isolates were serotyped as EPEC. The EPEC strains were shown to belong to 8 serotypes. Eight out of 19 EPEC strains belonged to serotype 018C:K77 (B21). Seventeen out of 19 of the EPEC strains were isolated from cooked food. The presence of E. coli in cooked food is an indicator of fecal contamination and a sign of unhygienic food handling. The presence of EPEC in food could be a potential source of food-borne outbreak. Hygiene training for every food-handler is a necessity.
A reversed-phase HPLC optimization strategy is presented for investigating the separation and retention behavior of aflatoxin B1, B2, G1, G2, ochratoxin A and zearalenone, simultaneously. A fractional factorial design (FFD) was used to screen the significance effect of seven independent variables on chromatographic responses. The independent variables used were: (X1) column oven temperature (20-40°C), (X2) flow rate (0.8-1.2 ml/min), (X3) acid concentration in aqueous phase (0-2%), (X4) organic solvent percentage at the beginning (40-50%), and (X5) at the end (50-60%) of the gradient mobile phase, as well as (X6) ratio of methanol/acetonitrile at the beginning (1-4) and (X7) at the end (0-1) of gradient mobile phase. Responses of chromatographic analysis were resolution of mycotoxin peaks and HPLC run time. A central composite design (CCD) using response surface methodology (RSM) was then carried out for optimization of the most significant factors by multiple regression models for response variables. The proposed optimal method using 40°C oven temperature, 1 ml/min flow rate, 0.1% acetic acid concentration in aqueous phase, 41% organic phase (beginning), 60% organic phase (end), 1.92 ratio of methanol to acetonitrile (beginning) and 0.2 ratio (end) for X1-X7, respectively, showed good prediction ability between the experimental data and predictive values throughout the studied parameter space. Finally, the optimized method was validated by measuring the linearity, sensitivity, accuracy and precision parameters, and has been applied successfully to the analysis of spiked cereal samples.