Authors:Flóra Sebők, Csaba Dobolyi, Dóra Zágoni, Anita Risa, Csilla Krifaton, Mátyás Hartman, Mátyás Cserháti, Sándor Szoboszlay, and Balázs Kriszt
Due to the climate change, aflatoxigenic Aspergillus species and strains have appeared in several European countries, contaminating different agricultural commodities with aflatoxin. Our aim was to screen the presence of aflatoxigenic fungi in maize fields throughout the seven geographic regions of Hungary. Fungi belonging to Aspergillus section Flavi were isolated in the ratio of 26.9% and 42.3% from soil and maize samples in 2013, and these ratios decreased to 16.1% and 34.7% in 2014. Based on morphological characteristics and the sequence analysis of the partial calmodulin gene, all isolates proved to be Aspergillus flavus, except four strains, which were identified as Aspergillus parasiticus. About half of the A. flavus strains and all the A. parasiticus strains were able to synthesize aflatoxins. Aflatoxigenic Aspergillus strains were isolated from all the seven regions of Hungary. A. parasiticus strains were found in the soil of the regions Southern Great Plain and Southern Transdanubia and in a maize sample of the region Western Transdanubia. In spite of the fact that aflatoxins have rarely been detected in feeds and foods in Hungary, aflatoxigenic A. flavus and A. parasiticus strains are present in the maize culture throughout Hungary posing a potential threat to food safety.