Mycoflora and ochratoxin-producing strains of Aspergillus section Nigri in wine grapes in Argentina

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AimsThe aims of this work were to evaluate the mycoflora and to identify the species of Aspergillus with the potential to produce ochratoxin A (OA) from different wine grape varieties from Mendoza, Argentina. Likewise, the capacity to produce OA by Aspergillus section Nigri was studied.Methods and ResultsFifty samples of wine grapes were obtained from a winery of Mendoza province, Argentina. The surface-disinfection method was used for mycoflora determination using the medium dichloran 18% glycerol agar (DG18). Alternaria, Aspergillus and Penicillium were identified at species level. OA production was tested in 63 strains belonging to section Nigri. Alternaria genus was the most frequent (80% of the samples) followed by Aspergillus (70%). Alternaria alternata was the only specie identified from the Alternaria genus, followed by A. niger var. niger, A. flavus among others. From Penicillium genus, P. crysogenum was the most frequent specie. From 63 strains of Aspergillus section Nigri, 41·3% were OA producers. The levels of produced toxin ranged from 2 to 24·5 ng ml−1 of culture medium.ConclusionsThe presence of ochratoxigenic strains of Nigri section in this substrate suggests that they may be an important source of OA in grapes from tropical and subtropical zones. Therefore, the industry should work further to diminish the growth of these fungi and mycotoxins formation in grapes, with the aim to reduce OA content in wine products.Significance and Impact of the StudyThe wine grape contamination with A. alternata and Aspergillus section Nigri was significant.

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