|Aflatoxins are produced by some Aspergillus fungi and frequently contaminate improperly stored grains and peanuts. Aflatoxins can also be present in human milk or animal meat/milk if the human/ animal consumed aflatoxin contaminated foodstuffs. Aflatoxins are associated with higher rates of liver and lung cancer and can damage the immune system.
Certain lactic acid fermenting bacteria which live in the intestines of humans and animals can reduce exposure to aflatoxins by either binding the aflatoxins or converting them to less toxic compounds. An Iranian study measured the ability of 119 strains of lactic acid bacteria to bind and excrete aflatoxins in liquid cultures. Two of the strains were found to be fairly effective in removing alfatoxins from the liquid cultures. These bacteria included Lactobacillus pentosus- which removed 17.4% of the aflatoxins and Lactobacillus beveris which removed 34.7% of the aflatoxins.
Future research may be able to identify and select bacteria which are particularly effective in removing or detoxifying aflatoxins and other mycotoxins.