Fungi and ochratoxin A detected in healthy grapes for wine production

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AimsThe mycoflora of healthy grapes (i.e. without visible symptoms of rot) for wine production in Portuguese winemaking regions was assessed and its potential for ochratoxin A (OTA) production evaluated. The OTA content of grapes was also determined.Methods and ResultsA total of 386 fungal strains were isolated by plating methods. The most frequent genera found in grapes were non-ochratoxigenic species: Cladosporium (28%), Penicillium (24%), Botrytis (13%) and Aspergillus (9%). Two OTA-producing strains were isolated, belonging to the species Aspergillus carbonarius and Aspergillus ochraceus. OTA was detected in three of four grape samples, up to 116 ng l−1.ConclusionsOTA is being produced in healthy berries by Aspergillus species, namely A. carbonarius, at levels below the maximum recommended limit of 2000 ng l−1 in wine.Significance and Impact of the StudyThe OTA concentration detected in healthy Portuguese grapes does not represent a risk to wine regarding the legal limit established.

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