Low-cost, specific PCR assays to identify the main aflatoxigenic species of Aspergillus section Flavi
J Microbiol Methods. 2022 Apr 18:106470. doi: 10.1016/j.mimet.2022.106470. Online ahead of print.
Aflatoxins are fungal metabolites that are present as contaminants in food globally. Most aflatoxigenic species belong to Aspergillus section Flavi, and the main ones are grouped in the A. flavus clade, where many cryptic species that are difficult to discriminate are found. In this study, we investigated inter- and intraspecific diversity of the A. flavus clade to develop low-cost, species-specific PCR assays for identifying aflatoxigenic species. A total of 269 sequences of the second largest subunit of RNA polymerase II (RPB2) locus were retrieved from GenBank, and primer pairs were designed using data mining to identify A. flavus, A. parasiticus, and A. novoparasiticus. Species-specific amplicons of approximately 620, 350, and 860 bp enabled identification of target species as A. flavus, A. parasiticus, and A. novoparasiticus, respectively.