Aspergillus carbonarius-derived ochratoxins are inhibited by Amazonian Bacillus spp. used as a biocontrol agent in grapes
Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2021 Oct 26:1-12. doi: 10.1080/19440049.2021.1982151. Online ahead of print.
Bacillus spp. have been used as a biocontrol strategy to eliminate/reduce toxic fungicides in viticulture. Furthermore, the presence of fungi that are resistant to commonly used products is frequent, highlighting the need for new biocontrol strains. Aspergillus carbonarius can produce ochratoxins, including ochratoxin A (OTA), which has a regulatory maximum allowable limit for grape products. The purpose of this study was to assess the ability of four Amazonian strains of Bacillus (P1, P7, P11, and P45) to biocontrol A. carbonarius and various forms of ochratoxins in grapes. Berries treated with strain P1 presented no fungal colonies (100% reduction), while P7, P11 and P45 strains caused a reduction of 95, 95 and 61% on fungal counts, respectively. Six forms of ochratoxin were found in the grapes inoculated with A. carbonarius, including ochratoxin α, ochratoxin β, ochratoxin α methyl-ester, ochratoxin α amide, N-formyl-ochratoxin α amide, and OTA. Four of these ochratoxin forms (ochratoxin β, ochratoxin α methyl-ester, ochratoxin α amide, N-formyl-ochratoxin α amide) are reported for the first time in grapes. These ochratoxins were identified using liquid chromatography coupled to quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-QToF-MS). All Bacillus strains inhibited the synthesis of OTA, which is the most toxic form of ochratoxin. No ochratoxin form was found when P1 and P7 were used. Although some forms of ochratoxin were detected in grapes treated with Bacillus spp. P11 and P45, the levels decreased by 97%. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the inhibition of Aspergillus carbonarius-derived ochratoxin by Bacillus species. P1 strain, identified as Bacillus velezensis, was found to be the most promising for completely inhibiting fungal growth and production of all ochratoxins.