Biomonitoring of Aflatoxin B1 Exposed by Herbal Medicine Intake

생약 복용에 따른 아플라톡신 B1의 인체모니터링 연구

Lee, Jin-Hee;Ryu, Heui-Young;Kim, Hyun-Kyung;Kim, Do-Jung;Lee, Young-Joo;Jung, Su-Hee;Jang, Dong-Deuk;Kim, Hyung-Su;Hong, Yeon-Pyo;Yoon, Hae-Seong

  • Received : 2010.03.09
  • Accepted : 2010.04.22
  • Published : 2010.04.30


Aflatoxin $B_1$, a known human carcinogen, is the member of aflatoxin subfamily that is most frequently found in contaminated foods. Epidemiological studies have suggested that aflatoxins may be associated with human liver cancer and acute hepatitis. Recently it was reported that the traditional medical herbs sold in domestic markets are contaminated with aflatoxins. Long-term administration of these contaminated medicines could result in adverse health effects. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the levels of exposure to aflatoxin in people who ingest traditional herbal medicines. Blood samples were collected, before and after the herbal medicine intake, from 151 subjects who visited the hospital. The metabolite of aflatoxin $B_1$ in blood, aflatoxin $B_1$-albumin (aflatoxin $B_1$-lysine), is reportedly an appropriate internal exposure indicator, and its levels in the collected bloods were therefore analyzed using a liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. The analytical method of aflatoxin $B_1$-lysine in blood was firstly optimized in Korea and the levels were detected below quantification limits (2 pg/mg albumin) in this study population. Consequently, the exposure levels of aflatoxin $B_1$ by ingestion of herbal medicines were low but it is important to monitor routinely due to the possibility of risk on the aflatoxin exposure.


aflatoxin B;biomonitoring;blood;herbal medicine


  1. Sargeant, K., Sheridan, A., O'Kelly, J. and Carnaghan, R. B. A. : Toxicity associated certain samples of groundnuts. Nature, 192, 1095-1097, 1961.
  2. Nasir, M. S. and Jolley, M. E. : Development of a fluorescence polarization assay for the determination of aflatoxins in grains. Journal of Agricultural and food Chemistry, 50(11), 3116-3121, 2002.
  3. Kim, J. G. : Occurrence of Aflatoxins in rice and rice products and by-products of rice. A Review. Korean Journal of Environmental Health Sciences, 32(5), 515-521, 2006.
  4. IARC : Monograph on the evaluation of carcinotenic risk to human (Lyon:IARC). 82, 171, 2002.
  5. European Commission, Commission Reguration:available from [ pdf/2001/en_2001R0466_do)001.pdf]. Assessed May, 21, 2009.
  6. Food and Drug Administration, Action levels for poisonous or deleterious substances in human food and animal feed. available at [ GuidanceCompliance Regulatory Information/GuidanceDocuments/ChemicalContaminantsandPesticides/ ucm077969.htm]. Assessed December, 15, 2005.
  7. Wild, C. P., Jiang, Y. Z., Sabbioni, G., Chapot, B. and Montesano, R. : Evaluation of methods for quantitation of aflatoxin-albumin adducts and their application to human exposure assessment. Cancer Research, 50(2), 245-251, 1990.
  8. Groopman, J. D., Donahue, P. R., Zhu, J. Q., Chen, J. S. and Wogan, G. N. : Aflatoxin metabolism in humans: detection of metabolites and nucleic acid adducts in urine by affinity chromatography. 1: Proceedings of the National Academy & Sciences of the United States of America, 82(19), 6492-6496, 1985.
  9. Jung, J. Y., Kim, Y. J., Park, K. S., Yim, O. K., Jun, M. Y., Ko, H. J., Cho, I. H., Baek, W. S., Kim, K. H., Lee, S. K., Ko, J. Y., Lee, J., Sin, S. H., Goak, E. Y., Choi, J. Y., Lee, Y. J., Im, Y. J., Im, D. B. and Son, Y. J. : The study of hazard materials monitoring and their intaking rate on oriental herbal medicine. KFDA Annual Report, 10, 984-986, 2006.
  10. Lee, J. T. : Research on intake of chinese medicine by Korean. KFDA Annual Report, 9, 867-868, 2005.
  11. Park, S. J., Chun, H. S., Park, J. S., Bae, D. H. and Chung, D. H. : Study on monitoring of aflatoxin from foods and biosamples(II). KFDA Annual Report, 8(2), 2618-2619, 2004.
  12. Shim, W. B., Chun, H. S., Bae, D. H. and Chung, D. H. : Study on the establishment of natural safety control system of mycotoxins-with special reference to aflatoxins. KFDA Annual Report, 9, 899-900, 2005.
  13. Turner, P. C., Dingley, K. H., Coxhead, J., Russell, S. and Garner, C. R. : Detectable levels of serum aflatoxin $B_1$-albumin adducts in the United Kingdom population: Implications for aflatoxin-$B_1$ exposure in the United Kingdom. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 7(5), 441-447, 1998.
  14. Egner, P. A., Groopman, J. D., Wang, J. S., Kensler, T. W. and Friesen, M. D. : Quantification of aflatoxin- $B_1$-N7-guanine in human urine by high-performance liquid chromatography and isotope dilution tandem mass spectrometry. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 19(9), 1191-1195, 2006.
  15. Jolly, P., Jiang, Y., Ellis, W., Awuah, R., Nnedu, O., Phillips, T., Wang, J. S., Afriyie-Gyawu, E., Tang, L., Person, S., Williams, J. and Jolly, C. : Determinants of aflatoxin levels in Ghanaians: Sociodemographic factors, knowledge of aflatoxin and food handling and consumption practices. International Journal of Hygiene & Environmental Health, 209(4), 345-358, 2006.
  16. Turner, P. C., Collison, A. C., Cheung, T. B., Gong, Y., Hall, A. J., Prentice, A. M. and Wild, C. P. : Aflatoxin exposure in utero causes growth faltering in Gambian infants. International Journal of Epidemiology, 36(5), 1119-1125, 2007.
  17. Jo, D. H., Son, Y. W., Moon, H. J., Cho, S. Y., Kim, S. S., Park, S. Y., No, J. Y., Lee, H. M., Kang, E. K., Lee, J. G., Park, E. R., Kim, S. I., Song, J. Y. and Jo, O. S. : A Survey of aflatoxin on commercial herbal medicine. KFDA Annual Report, 13, 2009. in press
  18. James, B., Adda, C., Cardwell, K., Annang, D., Hell, K., Korie, S., Edorh, M., Gbeassor, F., Nagatey, K. and Houenou, G. : Public information campaign on aflatoxin contamination of maize grains in market stores in Benin, Ghana and Togo. Food Additives and Contaminants, 24(11), 1283-1291, 2007.
  19. Kim, S. H., Lee, C. H., Son, Y. W., Jang, M. R., Choi, I. S., Lee, S. M., Cho, S. H., Park, J. S., Kwon, E.Y ., Lee, E. J., Sohn, S. H. and Kim, D. B. : A survey of the natural occurrence of total aflatoxins in food. KFDA Annual Report, 10, 827-837, 2006.


Supported by : 식품의약품안전청