African Journal of
Food Science

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Food Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0794
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJFS
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 973

Full Length Research Paper

Susceptibility of steeped and heat dried cowpea flour to fungal growth and aflatoxins production

Ayihadji Paul Ferdinand Houssou1*, Kpodo Kpodo2, Pascal Fandohan1, Bonaventure Cohovi Ahohuendo3 and Djidjoho Joseph Hounhouigan3
  1Programme on Agricultural and Food Technology, National Institute of Agricultural Research of Benin, P. O. Box 128, Porto-Novo, Republic of Benin. 2The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Food Research Institute, Department of Food Chemistry, P. O. Box M. 20. Accra, Ghana. 3Faculty of Agronomic Sciences, University of Abomey-Calavi, 01 P. O. Box 526 Cotonou, Republic of Benin.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 11 March 2011
  •  Published: 30 April 2011



In vitro studies were carried out to determine the susceptibility of flours from steeped and heat dried cowpea to fungal growth and aflatoxins production. A 2 × 7 factorial experimental design with 2 levels of steeping time of cowpea grain in water (0 and 3 min steeping) and 7 levels of drying temperatures of the grains ranging from 35 to 120°C were used for flour production. Processed flours were used to prepare solid Cowpea Flours Agar media (CFA). Aflatoxigenic strain (Aspergillus flavus) was inoculated to these media and incubated at 30°C for 7 days. Yeast Extract Sucrose (YES) was used as control. Radial growth of colonies formed was measured and aflatoxins production was determined using High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). After incubation period, maximal growth of A. flavus colonies was observed in all CFA. The aflatoxin levels detected in CFA prepared with flour dried at 35 to 50°C ranged from 4.40 to 29.63 µg toxin /kg flour, while higher levels ranging from 27.45 to 75.00 µg toxin /kg flour were detected in CFA prepared with flours dried at 60 to120°C. The effect of steeping cowpea in water on aflatoxin production was dependent on drying temperatures. The average aflatoxin levels in CFA flours obtained from non steeped and steeped grains were 11.16 and 16.14 µg toxin /kg flour respectively and were statistically similar at P= 0.05 at 35 to 50°C drying temperatures. It was concluded that drying steeped or non steeped cowpea at temperatures less than 60oC exposes cowpea flour to minimal risk of aflatoxin contamination.


Key words: Cowpeas flour, aflatoxins, drying temperature.