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Aspergillus carbonarius as the Main Source of Ochratoxin A Contamination in Dried Vine Fruits from the Spanish Market

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Ochratoxin A (OTA) can occur in a wide range of foods, but unexpectedly high concentrations have been detected in dried vine fruits of various origins. The European Union has recently established a maximum OTA limit of 10 μg/kg for these foodstuffs. In order to determine the likely origin of OTA, a mycological study of 50 dried fruit samples (currants, raisins, and sultanas) representative of the Spanish market was conducted. Fungal contamination was detected in 49 of 50 (98%) samples. Black aspergilli were isolated from all of the positive samples. Aspergillus niger var. niger was isolated from 98% of the samples, and Aspergillus carbonarius was found in 58% of the samples. One hundred sixty-eight A. niger var. niger isolates and 91 A. carbonarius isolates were screened for their ability to produce OTA. Eighty-eight (96.7%) A.carbonarius isolates and one (0.6%) A. niger var. niger isolate were found to be OTA producers. Black aspergilli were the dominant fungi. Among black aspergilli, A. carbonarius has shown a consistent ability to produce OTA and is the most probable source of this mycotoxin in these substrates.


Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: Departament de Sanitat i d'Anatomia Animals, Facultat de Veterinària, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain

Publication date: March 1, 2003

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