Chilean red chili peppers contaminated with aflatoxins were reported in a previous study. If the development of gallbladder cancer (GBC) in Chile is associated with a high level of consumption of aflatoxin-contaminated red chili peppers, such peppers from other countries having a high GBC incidence rate may also be contaminated with aflatoxins. We aimed to determine whether this might be the case for red chili peppers from Bolivia and Peru. A total of 7 samples (3 from Bolivia, 4 from Peru) and 3 controls (2 from China, 1 from Japan) were evaluated. Aflatoxins were extracted with acetonitrile:water (9:1, v/v) and eluted through an immuno-affinity column. The concentrations of aflatoxins B1, B2, G1, and G2 were measured using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and then the detected aflatoxins were identified using HPLC-mass spectrometry. In some but not all of the samples from Bolivia and Peru, aflatoxin B1 or aflatoxins B1 and B2 were detected. In particular, aflatoxin B1 or total aflatoxin concentrations in a Bolivian samples were above the maximum levels for aflatoxins in spices proposed by the European Commission. Red chili peppers from Bolivia and Peru consumed by populations having high GBC incidence rates would appear to be contaminated with aflatoxins. These data suggest the possibility that a high level of consumption of aflatoxin-contaminated red chili peppers is related to the development of GBC, and the association between the two should be confirmed by a case-control study.
- Consumption of food contaminated with aflatoxins
- Gallbladder cancer
- Risk factor