Bisulfite reacted with aflatoxin B1 and G1 resulting in their loss of fluorescence. The reaction was first order with rate depending on bisulfite (or the bisulfite and sulfite) concentration(s). Aflatoxin G1 reacted more rapidly with bisulfite than did aflatoxin B1. In the presence of 0.035 M potassium acid phthalate-NaOH buffer (pH 5.5) plus 1.3% (vol/vol) methanol at 25 C, the reaction rate constant for degradation of aflatoxin G1 was 2.23 × 10−2h and that for aflatoxin B1 was 1.87 × 10−2h when 50 ml of reaction mixture contained 1.60 g of K2SO3. Besides bisulfite concentrations, temperature influenced reaction rates. The Q10 for the bisulfite-aflatoxin reaction was approximately 2 while activation energies for degrading aflatoxin B1 and aflatoxin G1 were 13.1 and 12.6 kcal/mole, respectively. Data suggest that treating foods with 50 to 500 ppm SO2 probably would not effectively degrade appreciable amounts of aflatoxin. Treating foods with 2000 ppm SO2 or more and increasing the temperature might reduce aflatoxin to an acceptable level.

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