The Impact of Sun Drying on the Occurrence of Aflatoxin in Red Chilies


Red Chilies, Aflatoxin contamination, Post-harvest practices, Moisture content.

How to Cite

Najmus Sahar, Yousaf, S., Shibli, S., Khurshid, S., Iqbal, H. M., Akbar, Q.-U.-A., & Arif, S. (2021). The Impact of Sun Drying on the Occurrence of Aflatoxin in Red Chilies. Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences, 13, 632–637.


A major challenge in post-harvest protection of chilies is its rapid drying to prevent quality deterioration as a result of fungal contamination. The speed and efficiency of drying is crucial as the improper and prolonged drying may eventually initiate the buildup of mycotoxins. This research demonstrated levels of aflatoxin in samples at different stages of drying with the objective to assess the efficiency of the common practice of on-farm sun drying in Pakistan. The results indicated that there was no significant pre-harvest contamination of aflatoxins in chilies grown at different locations under study. Sun drying of the harvested chilies over a post drying stage reduced average moisture content from 69.70% to 9.87%, but also led to a gradual increase in the level of aflatoxins. The correlation between the observed increase in aflatoxin levels and the length of the drying period was found to be statistically significant (P<0.05) at all the locations investigated. The implications of the findings are discussed in relation to optimizing the post-harvest drying process to minimize the levels of aflatoxin in chilies.


Robens JF, Richard JL. Aflatoxins in animal and human health. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol 1992; 127: 69-94.

Wild CP, Turner PC. The toxicology of aflatoxins as a basis for public health decisions. Mutagenesis 2002; 17(6): 471-481.

Khlangwiset P, Shephard GS, Wu F. Aflatoxins and growth impairment: A review Cri Rev Toxicol 2011; 41 (9): 740-755.

Richard JL. Discovery of aflatoxins and significant historical features. Toxin Rev 2008; 27(3-4): 171-201.

Reddy KRN, Reddy CS, Muralidharan K. Detection of Aspergillus spp. and aflatoxin B1 in rice in India. Food Microbiol 2009; 26: 27-31.

Mushtaq M, Sultana B, Anwar F, Khan MZ, Ashrafuzaman M. Occurrence of Aflatoxins in Selected Processed Foods from Pakistan. Int J Mol Sci 2012; 13(7): 8324-8337.

Khatoon S, Hanif NQ, Tahira I, Sultana N, Sultana K, Ayub N. Natural occurrence of aflatoxins, zearalenone and trichothecenes in maize grown in Pakistan, Pak J Bot 2012; 44(1): 231-236.

Stoloff L. The three eras of fungal toxin research. American J Oil ChemSoc 1979; 56 (1): 784-788.

Sahar N, Arif S, Iqbal S, Afzal Q, Aman S, Ara J, Ahmed M. Moisture content and its impact on aflatoxin levels in ready-to-use red chillies. Food Add Contam: Part B: Surveillance 2015; 8(1): 67-72.

Logrieco A, Bottalico A, Mule G, Moretti A, Perrone G. Epidemiology of toxigenic fungi and their associated mycotoxins for some Mediterranean crops. Europ J Plant Pathol 2003; 109: 645-667.

Guo B, Chen ZY, Lee RD, Scully BT. Drought stress and preharvestaflatoxin contamination in agricultural commodity: genetics, genomics and proteomics. J Integr Plant Biol 2008; 50(10): 1281-1291.

Lee LS, Wall JH, Cotty PJ. andBayman P. Integration of ELISA with conventional chromatographic procedures for quantification of aflatoxin in individual cotton bolls, seeds, and seed sections J Assoc Off Anal Chem 1990; 73: 581-584.

Odvody G, SpencerN and Remmers J A. description of silk cut, a stress related loss of kernel integrity in pre-harvest maize Plant Dis. The Ameri Phytophathol Soci 1997; 81: 439-444.

Sommer NF, Buchanan JR and Fortlage RJ. Relation of early splitting and tattering of pistachio nuts to aflatoxin in the orchard. Phytopathology 1986; 76(7): 692-694.

Dowd PF. Involvement of arthropods in the establishment of mycotoxigenic fungi under field conditions. In: Sinha KK, Bhatnagar D, editors. Mycotoxins in agriculture and food safety. New York: Marcel Dekker Inc 1998; 307-350.

Garrido D, Jodral M, Pozo R. Mould Flora and aflatoxins producing strains of AspergillusFlavus in spices and herbs. J Food Prot 1992; 55: 451-452.

Tripathi S, Mishra HN. Nutritional changes in powdered red pepper upon in vitro infection of Aspergillus flavus. Braz J Microbiol 2009; 40(1): 139-144.

Varma SK, Verma RAB. Aflatoxin B1 production in orange (Citrus reticulata) juice by isolates of Aspergillus flavus Link. Mycopathol 1987; 97: 101-4.

Iqbal SZ, Paterson RRM, Bhatti IA, Asi MR. Survey of aflatoxins in chillies from Pakistan produced in rural, semi-rural and urban environments. Food Addit Contam 2010; 3: 268-274.

Baiyewu RA, Amusa NA, Ayoola OA, Babalola OO. Survey of the post-harvest diseases and aflatoxins contamination of marketed pawpaw fruit (Carica papaya L) in South Western Nigeria. Afr J Agri Res 2007; 2(4): 178-181.

Paterson R, Russell M. Aflatoxins contamination in chilli samples from Pakistan, Food Cont 2007; 18(7): 817-820.

Wilkister K, Moturi N. Factors likely to enhance mycotoxin introduction into the human diet through maize in Kenya. Afri J Food Agri Nutri Develop 2008; 8(3): 265-277.

Gqaleni N, Smith JE, Lacey J, Gettinby G. Effect of temperature, water activity, and incubation time on the production of aflatoxins and cyclopiazonic acid by an isolate of Aspergillusflavus in surface agar culture. Appl Environ Microbiol 1997; 63(3): 1048-1052.

Hugh L, Trunk, Hartman PA. Effect of moisture content and temperature on aflatoxins production in corn. Appl Environ Microbiol.1970; 19(5): 781-784.

Robert EH. Storage environment and the control of viability. In: “Viability of seeds”. Syracuse University Press 1972: 448.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.