UHPLC-HRMS-Based Untargeted Lipidomics Reveal Mechanism of Antifungal Activity of Carvacrol against Aspergillus flavus
Foods. 2021 Dec 30;11(1):93. doi: 10.3390/foods11010093.
Aspergillus flavus is a common contaminant in grain, oil and their products. Its metabolite aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) has been proved to be highly carcinogenic. Therefore, it is of great importance to find possible antifungal substances to inhibit the growth and toxin production of Aspergillus flavus. Carvacrol (CV) was reported as a potent antifungal monoterpene derived from plants. In this paper, the antifungal effects and mechanism of CV on Aspergillus flavus were investigated. CV was shown good inhibition on the growth of Aspergillus flavus and the production of AFB1. CV used in concentrations ranging from 0, 50, 100 and 200 μg/mL inhibited the germination of spores, mycelia growth and AFB1 production dose-dependently. To explore the antifungal mechanism of CV on Aspergillus flavus, we also detected the ergosterol content of Aspergillus flavus mycelia, employed Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) to observe mycelia morphology and utilized Ultra-High-Performance Liquid Chromatography-High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry (UHPLC-HRMS) to explore the lipidome profiles of Aspergillus flavus. The results showed that the production of ergosterol of mycelia was reduced as the CV treatment concentration increased. SEM photographs demonstrated a rough surface and a reduction in the thickness of hyphae in Aspergillus flavus treated with CV (200 µg/mL). In positive ion mode, 21 lipids of Aspergillus flavus mycelium were downregulated, and 11 lipids were upregulated after treatment with 200-µg/mL CV. In negative ion mode, nine lipids of Aspergillus flavus mycelium were downregulated, and seven lipids upregulated after treatment with 200-µg/mL CV. In addition, the analysis of different lipid metabolic pathways between the control and 200-µg/mL CV-treated groups demonstrated that glycerophospholipid metabolism was the most enriched pathway related to CV treatment.