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Modification of montmorillonite clay with Cymbopogon citratus for the decontamination of zearalenone in millet

1 Department of Biological Sciences, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria
2 Department of Biotechnology and Food Technology, University of Johannesburg, Doornfontein Campus, 2028, Gauteng, South Africa
3 Chemistry Department, Faculty of Applied and Computer Science, Vaal University of Technology, Vanderbijlpark Campus, Boulevard, 1900, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa

Montmorillonite clay due to its abundance and environmental friendliness, has several industrial applications among which is the adsorption of mycotoxins in foods and feeds as binding agents. Fungal species from the genus Fusarium produce zearalenone (ZEA); an oestrogenic compound, which has been implicated in hormonal and reproductive issues for both animal and man. In this study, various nanoformulations from montmorillonite clay and Cymbopogon citratus (lemongrass) extracts were developed for the decontamination of ZEA in millet. The various formulations developed included montmorillonite clay and essential oil of Cymbopogon citratus (Mont-LGEO), montmorillonite clay mixed with C. citratus (lemongrass) powder (Mont-LGP) and montmorillonite clay washed with 1 mM NaCl (Mont-Na). Unmodified montmorillonite clay (Mont) and C. citratus (lemongrass powder) (LGP) served as the negative controls for the treatment. Each of the formulations was exposed to millet grains at concentrations of 8 and 12% and stored for 4 weeks. All the formulations were effective in the decontamination of ZEA in millet after 4 weeks with LGP exposed at 12% recording the highest reduction of 98.3% while the second most effective formulation, Mont-LGP exposed at 12% showed a 66% reduction of ZEA in millet (p = 0.05).
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