Aflatoxin Contamination of Red Chili Pepper From Bolivia and Peru, Countries with High Gallbladder Cancer Incidence Rates


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