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Keywords:

  • Aspergillus section Nigri;
  • Aspergillus ochraceus;
  • ochratoxin A;
  • grapes;
  • must

Abstract

This paper reports the results from an extensive survey of filamentous fungi isolated from wine-producing grapes and their capacity to produce ochratoxin A (OTA) on Czapek Yeast Autolysate agar (CYA), in order to assess their potential for producing this toxin in grapes. Grapes were sampled from four Spanish wine-producing regions during 2001. The fungal infection in berries increased with time, reaching 100% at harvest. A total of 386 isolates of Aspergillus section Nigri and 10 of Aspergillus section Circumdati were isolated and tested for their ability to produce OTA in CYA. 21 strains produced OTA (18 Aspergillus section Nigri and 3 Aspergillus section Circumdati). Aspergillus section Circumdati isolates produced higher amounts of OTA than Aspergillus section Nigri ones, with means of 10.76 µg g−1 CYA and 1.42 µg g−1 CYA, respectively. Despite this, black aspergilli are believed to be highly responsible for the OTA levels found in musts and wines, as it is more widespread in grapes. Musts (n = 40) produced from the grapes collected were analysed. 15% were found to contain OTA, concentrations ranging from 0.091 to 0.813 ng ml−1 (detection limit: 0.07 ng ml−1), but no correlation was found with the ochratoxigenic moulds isolated from grapes. Copyright © 2004 Society of Chemical Industry