Mycotoxin production in wheat grains by different Aspergilli in relation to different relative humidities and storage periods



Four different Aspergilli (Aspergillus oryzae, A. parasiticus, A. terreus and A. versicolor) were grown on wheat grains under different degrees of relative humidity 14, 50, 74, 80 and 90%. Samples of wheat grains were taken monthly for a period of six months and examined for mycotoxin production. A. oryzae was found to produce aflatoxins B1, B2, zearalenone, DON and T-2 toxins under elevated degrees of humidity and prolonged periods of storage. A. parasiticus produced aflatoxins B1, G1, NIV, DON and T-2 toxins in high concentrations during a period of not more than three months storage at 14% relative humidity; at an increased level of relative humidity of 74% ochratoxin A, zearalenone and sterigmatocystin were also produced at high levels. The isolate was drastic in toxin production. A. terreus produced toxins at 14% relative humidity (aflatoxin G2 and DON) at levels much higher than any other prevalent degrees of humidity. A. versicolor is highly sensitive to relative humidity and grain moisture content. It produced aflatoxins B1, G1, NIV and DON at a relative humidity of 50% and another toxins (aflatoxin G2, ochratoxins A, B and zearalenone) at 74%. The microorganism can be considered a trichothecene producer under suitable relative humidity.