Ochratoxin A Contamination of Red Chili Peppers from Chile, Bolivia and Peru, Countries with a High Incidence of Gallbladder Cancer


Our previous study detected aflatoxins in red chili peppers from Chile, Bolivia, and Peru, each of which have ahigh incidence of gallbladder cancer (GBC). Since the aflatoxin B1 concentration was not so high in these peppers,it is important to clarify the presence of other mycotoxins. Here we attempted to determine any associationsbetween the concentrations of aflatoxins and ochratoxin A (OTA) in red chili peppers, and the correspondingGBC incidences. We collected red chili peppers from three areas in Peru: Trujillo (a high GBC incidence area),Cusco (an intermediate GBC incidence area), and Lima (a low GBC incidence rate), and from Chile and Bolivia.Aflatoxins and OTA were extracted with organic solvents. The concentrations of aflatoxins B1, B2, G1, and G2,and OTA were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography. The values obtained were comparedwith the incidence of GBC in each area or country. All of the red chili peppers from the three areas showedcontamination with aflatoxins below the Commission of the European Communities (EC) recommended limits(5 μg/kg), but the OTA contamination of two samples was above the EC recommended limit (15 μg/kg). Themean concentrations of OTA in the peppers from Chile (mean 355 μg/kg, range <5–1,059 μg/kg) and Bolivia(mean 207 μg/kg, range 0.8–628 μg/kg), which has a high incidence of GBC, were higher than that in Peru (14μg/kg, range <5–47 μg/kg), which has an intermediate GBC incidence. The OTA contamination in the red chilipeppers from Chile, Bolivia, and Peru was stronger than that of aflatoxins. Our data suggest that OTA in redchili peppers may be associated with the development of GBC.