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Ethanol ProductionAflatoxins do not appear in distilled alcohol, even whenthe corn has relatively high levels of toxin. The toxins arenot degraded during fermentation and distillation butsimply are concentrated in the spent grain. Thus, ethanolplants can utilize aflatoxin-contaminated corn, althoughthey may prefer not to, because of a desire to use the spentgrain as livestock feed.
Alcohol. Aflatoxin contaminated corn could be utilized to produce alcohol for the production of gasohol. In fact, some has been utilized in this process. However, the residue from such a process remains contaminated with aflatoxins and should not be fed to livestock unless it is decontaminated. Apparently, the aflatoxins do not interfere with the fermentation process in producing alcohol.
Commercial processing of cottonseed requires hexane to extract and recover edible oil. Gossypol and aflatoxin are not removed from extracted meals. A bench-top extraction process with 95% (vol/vol) aqueous ethanol (EtOH) solvent has been developed that extracts all three of the above materials with a much less volatile solvent. In this process, cottonseed is pretreated and extracted with ambient 95% EtOH to remove gossypol and then extracted with hot 95% EtOH to extract oil and aflatoxin. Membranes and adsorption columns are used to purify the various extract streams, so that they can be recycled directly. A representative extracted meal contained a total gossypol content of 0.47% (a 70% reduction) and 3 ppb aflatoxin (a 95% reduction). Residual oil content was approximately 2%.
Extraction with certain solvents to achieve essentially complete removal of aflatoxins is also technically feasible.
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