Aflatoxins are carcinogenic secondary metabolites produced by Aspergillus section Flavi that contaminates a wide variety of food and feed products and is responsible for serious health and economic consequences. Fermented foods are prepared with a wide variety of substrates over a long fermentation time and are thus vulnerable to contamination by aflatoxin-producing fungi, leading to the production of aflatoxin B1. The mitigation and control of aflatoxin is currently a prime focus for developing safe aflatoxin-free food. This review summarizes the role of major aflatoxin-degrading enzymes such as laccase, peroxidase, and lactonase, and microorganisms in the context of their application in food. A putative mechanism of enzyme-mediated aflatoxin degradation and toxicity evaluation of the degraded products are also extensively discussed to evaluate the safety of degradation processes for food applications. The review also describes aflatoxin-degrading microorganisms isolated from fermented products and investigates their applicability in food as aflatoxin preventing agents. Furthermore, a summary of recent technological advancements in protein engineering, nanozymes, in silico and statistical optimization approaches are explored to improve the industrial applicability of aflatoxin-degrading enzymes.
Keywords: Aflatoxins, degradation, enzyme, microorganisms, fermented food, toxicity