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Occurrence of Ochratoxin A–Producing Fungi in Raw Brazilian Coffee

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Ochratoxin A (OA)-producing fungi were identified in coffee at different stages of maturation. The toxin was quantified in coffee during terrace drying and in coffee stored in barns. By direct plating, a high level of contamination (100%) was found in the coffee beans studied, with the genus Aspergillus representing 33.2%, of which Aspergillus ochraceus and Aspergillus niger represented 10.3 and 22.9%, respectively, of the strains isolated from the coffee beans. The capacity to produce ochratoxin was determined in 155 strains of A. ochraceus and A. niger using both the agar plug method and extraction with chloroform, giving positive results for 88.1% of the A. ochraceus strains and 11.5% of the A. niger strains. Analysis for OA in the terrace and barn coffee samples showed that, independent of cultivar, year harvested, or production region, all except one of the samples analyzed showed mycotoxin levels below the limit suggested by the European Common Market (8 μg/kg), thus indicating that the problem is restricted and due to severe faults in harvesting and storage practices.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Technology, State University of Campinas, Campinas S.P., Brazil 2: Institute of Food Technology, P.O. Box 139, Campinas S.P., Brazil 13073-001

Publication date: August 1, 2001

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