Effect of the essential oils of Satureja montana L., Myristica fragrans H. and Cymbopogon flexuosus S. on mycotoxin-producing Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus ochraceus Antifungal properties of essential oils
FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2021 Oct 30:fnab137. doi: 10.1093/femsle/fnab137. Online ahead of print.
Essential oils can be a useful alternative to the use of synthetic fungicides because they have biological potential and are relatively safe for food and agricultural products. The objectives of the present study were to evaluate the antifungal and antimycotoxigenic activities of the essential oils from Satureja montana L., Myristica fragrans H. and Cymbopogon flexuosus S. against Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus ochraceus, as well as their effects on ergosterol synthesis and membrane morphology. The antifungal potential was evaluated by mycelial growth analysis and scanning electron microscopy. Fungicidal effects against Aspergillus flavus, with MFC of 0.98, 15.62 and 0.98 µL mL-1, respectively, were observed for the essential oils from Satureja montana, Myristica fragrans and Cymbopogon flexuosus. Aspergillus ochraceus did not grow in the presence of concentrations of 3.91, 15.62 and 0.98 µL mL-1 of the essential oils from S. montana, M. fragrans and C. flexuosus, respectively. The essential oils significantly inhibited the production of ochratoxin A by the fungus A. ochraceus. The essential oils also inhibited the production of aflatoxin B1 and aflatoxin B2. The biosynthesis of ergosterol was inhibited by the applied treatments. Biological activity in the fungal cell membrane was observed in the presence of essential oils, given that deleterious effects on the morphologies of the fungi were detected. The essential oils under study are promising as food preservatives because they significantly inhibit toxigenic fungi that contaminate food. In addition, the essential oils hindered the biosynthesis of mycotoxins.