Definition of aflatoxin in US English:



  • Any of a class of toxic compounds that are produced by certain molds found in food, and can cause liver damage and cancer.

    These are produced by fungi of the Aspergillus flavus group, subdivision Deuteromycotina

    • ‘One family of mycotoxins, the aflatoxins, are carcinogenic and immunotoxic and cause growth retardation in animals.’
    • ‘Staple foods in the developing world, particularly maize and groundnuts, are often contaminated with aflatoxins, metabolites of Aspergillus species.’
    • ‘Excessive absorption of the naturally-occurring aflatoxin can lead to liver damage in the long term, said Food and Environmental Hygiene Department officials.’
    • ‘The most potent human carcinogen known is the mycotoxin aflatoxin, and it is certainly not an artificial chemical.’
    • ‘Several varieties of the mould Aspergillus produce a group of carcinogens called aflatoxins, which cause liver injury and cancer.’


1960s: from elements of the modern Latin taxonomic name Aspergillus flavus + toxin.