Aflatoxin excretion in children with kwashiorkor or marasmic kwashiorkor--a clinical investigation.

PMID 2112691


A group of five children with kwashiorkor, seven with marasmic kwashiorkor and one underweight child were given an aflatoxin-free diet consisting of maize meal and milk powder. Blood specimens were collected on admission; on day 4 and 10, 24 hour urine and stool samples were collected for the first ten days. Serum, urine and stool samples were analysed for aflatoxins using high performance liquid chromatography with fluorescent detection, after various extraction and clean-up procedures. The children with kwashiorkor and marasmic kwashiorkor excreted aflatoxins in stools for up to 9 and 6 days after admission respectively. No aflatoxins were detected in the stools or urine of the underweight child. In kwashiorkor, urinary excretion ceased after 2 days, while in marasmic kwashiorkor urinary excretion persisted for 4 days. In stools, B1 was the type of aflatoxin detected most frequently in kwashiorkor and least frequently in marasmic kwashiorkor. Aflatoxin M2 was frequently detected in the stools of both groups of children. Estimates of the total amount of aflatoxin excreted by kwashiorkor and marasmic kwashiorkor indicate that these children were harbouring up to 4 micrograms/kg body weight at the time of admission. These findings establish that aflatoxins accumulate in body fluids and tissues in kwashiorkor and marasmic kwashiorkor which is only slowly eliminated.