Twenty-eight herbal medicinal products from Thailand were investigated for aflatoxin (AF) contaminations by employing a specific HPLC assay for the determination of AFB1, B2, G1 and G2. The samples were extracted with 80% (v/v) methanol in water before further cleaned up with an immunoaffinity column and followed by the detection of AFs by using an electrochemically post-column derivatization with iodine and fluorescence detector. The extraction procedure was optimized in order to obtain the best recovery. The method was successfully carried out with all the herbal products diversified as to compositions and dosage forms. The results revealed that five (18%) of herbal samples were contaminated with detectable amount of the total AFs ranging from 1.7 to 14.3 ng/g. The association between particular herbal/plant and the AF contaminated could not be determined due to the low frequency of positive samples. The contaminated products were those in tablet (4) and capsule (1) dosage forms. It was possible that the original fungal infection of these products may have been derived from either the crude herbal or other ingredients making these preparations, such as starch. In conclusion, none of the AF contaminated level found was above the current legislative level permissible in Thailand (20 ng/g). A word of caution, however, exporting some high AF-contaminated herbal products to countries where more stringent permissable level of aflatoxins exist could result in trade Barriers.
Aflatoxins/analysis* Aflatoxins/isolation & purification Chromatography, Affinity/methods* Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid/methods Drug Contamination* Immunoassay/methods Plants, Medicinal/chemistry* Thailand