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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Ensuring Global Food Safety by Degrading Aflatoxins

Food safety is one of the most concerning problems the world is facing. Aflatoxins (AFs) are naturally occurring fungal toxins that threaten global food safety by contaminating up to 25% of the world’s food supply. Over 4.5 billion people in the world are exposed to unmonitored, and potentially high, levels of AFs via consuming contaminated foods. AFs are fatally toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic and immunosuppressive, and classified as a known human carcinogen. In fact, aflatoxin B1 is the most potent carcinogen present in nature.

Despite over 60 years of tremendous efforts, no practical methods have been developed that can safely reduce AF levels in food. These investigators have developed a proprietary product called D-Tox that can degrade and detoxify high amount (over 5 ppm) of AFs to a safe level by simply soaking or boiling contaminated crops and nuts with D-Tox.

Investigators are studying the chemistry, toxicology and biology of D-Tox and determining the mechanisms by which it degrades AFs, as well as examining practical applications of D-Tox on AFs in various foods and feeds. This project will inform the potential for mass production of D-Tox in a cost-effective manner.

Principal Investigator

  • Jae-Hyuk Yu
    Professor of Bacteriology

Co- Investigators

  • Chris Bradfield
    Professor of Oncology
  • Ying Ge
    Professor of Chemistry
  • Weipang Tang
    Professor of Pharmacy