Prevalence of toxigenic fungi and mycotoxins in Arabic coffee (Coffea arabica): Protective role of traditional coffee roasting, brewing and bacterial volatiles
PLoS One. 2021 Oct 29;16(10):e0259302. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0259302. eCollection 2021.
Fungal infection and synthesis of mycotoxins in coffee leads to significant economic losses. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of toxigenic fungi, their metabolites, and the effect of traditional roasting and brewing on ochratoxin A (OTA) and aflatoxins (AFs) contents of naturally contaminated coffee samples. In addition, in vivo biocontrol assays were performed to explore the antagonistic activities of Bacillus simplex 350-3 (BS350-3) on the growth and mycotoxins synthesis of Aspergillus ochraceus and A. flavus. The relative density of A. niger, A. flavus, Penicillium verrucosum and A. carbonarius on green coffee bean was 60.82%, 7.21%, 3.09% and 1.03%, respectively. OTA contents were lowest in green coffee beans (2.15 μg/kg), followed by roasted (2.76 μg/kg) and soluble coffee (8.95 μg/kg). Likewise, AFs levels were highest in soluble coffee (90.58 μg/kg) followed by roasted (33.61 μg/kg) and green coffee (9.07 μg/kg). Roasting naturally contaminated coffee beans at three traditional methods; low, medium and high, followed by brewing resulted in reduction of 58.74% (3.50 μg/kg), 60.88% (3.72 μg/kg) and 64.70% (4.11 μg/kg) in OTA and 40.18% (34.65 μg/kg), 47.86% (41.17 μg/kg) and 62.38% (53.73 μg/kg) AFs contents, respectively. Significant inhibitions of AFs and OTA synthesis by A. flavus and A. carbonarius, respectively, on infected coffee beans were observed in presence of Bacillus simplex BS350-3 volatiles. Gas chromatography mass spectrochemistry (GC-MS/MS) analysis of head-space BS350-3 volatiles showed quinoline, benzenemethanamine and 1-Octadecene as bioactive antifungal molecules. These findings suggest that marketed coffee samples are generally contaminated with OTA and AFs, with a significant level of roasted and soluble coffee contaminated above EU permissible limits for OTA. Further, along with coffee roasting and brewing; microbial volatiles can be optimized to minimize the dietary exposure to mycotoxins.