Aflatoxin exposure assessment in home-based peanut oil consumers and biomarkers of early health effects

Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is a biotoxin that can cause human liver cancer. During the process by which AFB1 causes liver cancer, various changes can be observed, including increased genetic damage and methylation modification of particular genes.

Home-made pressed peanut oil (HPP oil) is a kind of traditional edible oil particularly favoured by people in some parts of southern China. It was reported that the AFB1 contamination status in Guangdong province is the most serious in China. But we know little about the adverse health effect caused by AFB1 from HPP oil. Therefore, this study will conduct a cross-sectional survey of AFB1 high-exposure populations in parts of Guangdong where the consumption rate of home-made pressed peanut oil is high, and investigate the exposure to AFB1, and whether the exposure of AFB1 in the HPP oil can increase the risk of liver cancer in residents.

We will identify a novel early effect biomarker monitoring technology to assess the adverse effect due to the exposure to AFB1, and then conduct a health risk assessment. After this, we will carry out public health education to increase public awareness to reduce the exposure level of AFB1. We will assess the health education effect using the knowledge-based questionnaire.

The overall aim is to provide a scientific basis for protecting the health of people who consume contaminated HPP oil in southern China.


The planned outcomes of the proposal are to understand the exact exposure status in Guangdong, identify biomarkers of effect and effect on health. There will also be a risk assessment based on the data. This will allow me to improve my research skills, giving me enhanced skills in food safety risk assessment to help me develop to be a leader in this field in China.

The project will provide data for publications in peer-reviewed international journals. This will benefit my career by giving me publications and increase my profile. The outputs will also benefit the co-applicant and the host organisation. A further benefit to the academics involved will be to promote cooperation allowing for the development of future research collaborations and funding applications.

The benefits to China will include the training of an early career researcher who will be able to use skills obtained in future similar food contaminant risk assessment studies. The training of future scientists is critical to the development of the economy and to protect the public from food safety risks. Promoting collaboration between scientists in China and UK will also promote future collaboration software benefits to China. The research provides a thorough exposure and risk assessment on the HPP oil consumption health risk in high-risk liver cancer areas. The education and intervention study will benefit the local population through reducing exposure and ultimately reduce cancer risk.

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Newton International Fellowships