A Polyphasic Approach Aids Early Detection of Potentially Toxigenic Aspergilli in Soil.
Microorganisms. 2019 Aug 29;7(9):
Authors: Cafà G, Caggiano B, Reeve MA, Bhatti H, Honey SF, Bajwa B, Buddie AG
Key chili and maize growing areas of Pakistan were selected for a focused baseline study of the levels of Aspergillus spp. Investigations were undertaken using a combination of molecular and culture-based techniques. Samples investigated included soil samples, one-year-old corn cobs, and fresh chili from selected locations. Aspergillus strains obtained from corn cobs were screened using coconut milk agar, resulting in one strain that was positive for aflatoxin production. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) with low coverage techniques were employed to screen the isolates for differences in the ribosomal RNA gene cluster and mitochondrial genome, with the aflatoxigenic strain proving to have a distinctive profile. Finally, strains were subjected to matrix-assisted laser-desorption and ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-ToF-MS) in order to obtain a proteomic ‘fingerprint’ which was used to distinguish the aflatoxigenic strain from the other isolates. The next generation sequencing (NGS) study was broadened to incorporate metabarcoding with ITS rRNA for determining the microbial biodiversity of the soil samples and presumptive screening for the presence of aflatoxigenic strains. Using information gleaned from the WGS results, a putative aflatoxigenic operational taxonomic unit (OTU) was observed in four of the 15 soil samples screened by metabarcoding. This method may have beneficial applications in early detection and surveillance programs in agricultural soils and commodities.
PMID: 31470555 [PubMed]