Biology and ecology of mycotoxigenic Aspergillus species as related to economic and health concerns

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David M. Wilson; Wellington Mubatanhema; Zeljko Jurjevic

Type of Document:
Scholarly Article


Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology

Date of Publication:

Place of Publication:
Not Available


Abstract: The fungal genusAspergilluswas established in 1729, and includes species that are adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions. Many aspergilli produce mycotoxins in foods that may be toxic, mutagenic or carcinogenic in animals. Most of the Aspergillus species are soil fungi or saprophytes but some are capable of causing decay in storage, disease in plants or invasive disease in humans and animals. Major agricultural commodities affected before or after harvest by fungal growth and mycotoxins include corn, peanuts, cottonseed, rice, tree nuts, cereal grains, and fruits. Animal products (meat, milk and eggs) can become contaminated because of diet.Aspergillus flavus,A. parasiticus,A. ochraceus,A. niger,A. fumigatusand other aspergilli produce mycotoxins of concern. These include the aflatoxins and ochratoxins, as well as cyclopiazonic acid, patulin, sterigmatocystin, gliotoxin, citrinin and other potentially toxic metabolites.

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