Black aspergilli species responsible for infecting corn identified

September 30, 2010

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists in Athens, Georgia, have reported for the first time that several species of Aspergillus niger, or black aspergilli, are capable of infecting corn and peanuts as endophytes. The researchers also showed that, under laboratory conditions, these species produced mycotoxins.

Using a molecular procedure they developed, USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) research leader Charles Bacon, microbiologist Dorothy Hinton, and Edwin Palencia, a graduate student in the Department of Plant Pathology of the University of Georgia in Athens, identified more than 18 species of black aspergilli, several of which have the potential to produce mycotoxins.

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of ensuring food safety.

Bacon and his team at the ARS Richard B. Russell Research Center in Athens also found that several A.niger species that were thought to be incapable of producing mycotoxins can produce ochratoxins--carcinogenic mycotoxins that can affect humans, livestock, and poultry. These A. niger species were deemed as non-producers of mycotoxins based on in vitro culture media, but on corn they were indeed producers. The findings from that research were published in the journal Toxins.

A. niger, one of a group of black-spored fungi, is a common contaminant on corn, peanuts, several other important food and feed ingredients, and products made from them.

Bacon and his team's work suggest that species of A. niger are also contributors to the occurrence of fumonisins in corn, other cereals and food items. Fumonisins are a class of mycotoxins that are known to be carcinogenic and are primarily produced by the Fusarium species of fungi. Some of the black aspergilli identified in this study are also producers of this mycotoxin.

According to the research team, the A. niger complex of species acts within corn and peanuts as an endophyte, living within the tissues of the plant, but causing no harm to the plant itself. Three species of A. niger are identified in U.S. corn and peanuts as symptomless endophytes, which suggests the potential for concern as pathogens and as food safety hazards.

Black aspergilli, generally viewed as post-harvest pathogens, produce rots of grapes, corn and numerous other fruits and grain.
-end-
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics

Related Pathogens Articles from Brightsurf:

Pathogens in the mouth induce oral cancer
Pathogens found in tissues that surround the teeth contribute to a highly aggressive type of oral cancer, according to a study published 1st October in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Yvonne Kapila of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues.

A titanate nanowire mask that can eliminate pathogens
Researchers in Lásló Forró's lab at EPFL, Switzerland, are working on a membrane made of titanium oxide nanowires, similar in appearance to filter paper but with antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Plastics, pathogens and baby formula: What's in your shellfish?
The first landmark study using next-generation technology to comprehensively examine contaminants in oysters in Myanmar reveals alarming findings: the widespread presence of human bacterial pathogens and human-derived microdebris materials, including plastics, kerosene, paint, talc and milk supplement powders.

The Parkinson's disease gut has an overabundance of opportunistic pathogens
In 2003, Heiko Braak proposed that Parkinson's disease is caused by a pathogen in the gut that could pass through the intestinal mucosal barrier and spread to the brain through the nervous system.

Crop pathogens 'remarkably adaptable'
Pathogens that attack agricultural crops show remarkable adaptability to new climates and new plant hosts, new research shows.

Inexpensive, portable detector identifies pathogens in minutes
Most viral test kits rely on labor- and time-intensive laboratory preparation and analysis techniques; for example, tests for the novel coronavirus can take days to detect the virus from nasal swabs.

Outsmarting pathogens
A new influenza strain appears each flu season, rendering past vaccines ineffective.

Autonomous microtrap for pathogens
Antibiotics are more efficient when they can act on their target directly at the site of infestation, without dilution.

Acidic environment could boost power of harmful pathogens
New findings published in PLOS Pathogens suggest lower pH in the digestive tract may make some bacterial pathogens even more dangerous.

Protozoans and pathogens make for an infectious mix
The new observation that strains of V. cholerae can be expelled into the environment after being ingested by protozoa, and that these bacteria are then primed for colonisation and infection in humans, could help explain why cholera is so persistent in aquatic environments.

Read More: Pathogens News and Pathogens Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.