Toxin in peanuts

Mass spectrometry and imaging techniques have enabled researchers at the University of Campinas (Unicamp) to identify the simultaneous presence of aflatoxins – toxic substances produced by some types of fungus – and the antioxidant resveratrol in peanuts.  Whereas aflatoxin can cause diseases including cancer when ingested in large amounts, resveratrol helps prevent heart attacks. The results of the research, conducted by pharmacist Diogo Noin de Oliveira as part of his PhD studies at Unicamp’s School of Medical Sciences with Professor Rodrigo Ramos Catharino as his advisor, was published in PLOS ONE on March 4, 2014. “A software program in the equipment marks the location to be analyzed. At the end, a chemical image is formed, showing the locations that contain higher concentrations of aflatoxins,” says Oliveira, who is a FAPESP grant recipient.