Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus ochraceus inhibition and reduction of aflatoxins and ochratoxin A in maize by irradiation
Toxicon. 2021 May 4:S0041-0101(21)00139-2. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2021.04.029. Online ahead of print.
Grains are susceptible to contamination by molds; some cause spoilage and others produce certain mycotoxins that cause a serious health threat to humans and animals. Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus ochraceus and their mycotoxins, aflatoxins and ochratoxin A, are natural contaminants of various agricultural commodities. Control of these molds and their mycotoxins in food commodities is of utmost importance; therefore, the target of this research was to explore the effects of gamma irradiation doses on the growth of A. flavus and A. ochraceus in artificially inoculated yellow maize as well as on the production of aflatoxin B1, ochratoxin A, and the formation of toxins in maize. The irradiated dose of 6.0 kGy was found to completely inhibit the growth of the two molds, while a dose of 4.5 kGy reduced the production of their mycotoxins. Maximum degradation of the formed aflatoxins and ochratoxin A in maize occurred at 20 kGy, with best reduction rates of 40.1%, 33.3%, and 61.1% observed for aflatoxin B1, aflatoxin B2, and ochratoxin A, respectively. We recommend grains irradiation by gamma radiation at 6.0 kGy to decontaminate mycotoxin-producing molds before they produce mycotoxins. The study represents a proactive, efficient, and potent method for avoiding potential contamination of fungus during grains storage and transfer for one to two months.