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Acta Alimentaria
Authors: Cs. Dobolyi, K. Inotai, I. Bata-Vidács, D. Sárkány, O. Csernus, S. Kocsubé, B. Tóth, A. Szekeres, and J. Kukolya

Abstract

Aspergillus strains were isolated from Hungarian mills in order to get information on the appearance of sterigmatocystin (ST) producing moulds, whose presence has never been demonstrated in Hungary. Fungal isolates were classified into nine morphotypes, sections Nigri, Nidulantes, Versicolores (two morphotypes), Circumdati, Flavi (two morphotypes), Clavati and Terrei by classical mycological assays. ST producing strains could be classified into section Versicolores. ST production of the isolates was assessed by liquid and solid phase growth experiments and compared to ST producing reference strains: Aspergillus pepii SzMC 22332, Aspergillus versicolor SzMC 22333, Aspergillus griseoaurantiacus SzMC 22334 and Aspergillus nidulans RDIT9.32. Four of our isolates marked as Km11, Km14, Km26 and Km31 showed ST production in liquid medium. ST production on solid phase corn grit substrate was measured after three weeks of incubation, and Km26 isolate proved to be the most prominent with a toxin concentration of 277.1 μg g−1, surpassing all reference strains. The toxin-producing ability of Km26 isolate was also tested in a field experiment, where corn was infected. By the end of the experiment, ST level of 19.56 μg kg−1 was measured in infected corn.

Molecular taxonomic identification of the Km26 strain was performed using internal transcribed spacer (ITS), calmodulin and tubulin sequence analyses. Based on these studies, strain Km26 was identified as Aspergillus creber.

Here we report that an ST-producing A. creber strain has appeared in Hungary, and the Km26 strain is the first known extreme ST-producing mould in this country. As a result of climate change, aflatoxin B1 producing Aspergillus flavus strains have appeared in Hungary in the last decade. As strain Km26 is the only A. creber isolate in Hungary so far, there is no sign of mass prevalence, and due to the lower temperature optimum of the species compared to A. flavus, its appearance is probably not related to climate change.

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