Chapter 25 : Toxigenic Species

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The discovery of penicillin in 1929 gave impetus to a search for other metabolites with antibiotic properties and, ultimately, to the recognition of citrinin, patulin, and griseofulvin as “toxic antibiotics” or, later, mycotoxins. In a comprehensive review of the literature on fungal metabolites, about 120 common mold species were found to be demonstrably toxic to higher animals. The majority of important toxigenic and food spoilage species are found in the subgenus . The major source of ochratoxin A in foods is bread made from barley or wheat in which has grown. It has been suggested that ochratoxin A is a causal agent of Balkan endemic nephropathy, a kidney disease with a high mortality rate in certain areas of Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Romania. Several tremorgenic mycotoxins are produced by species, with the most important being the highly toxic penitrem A. Verruculogen, which is equally toxic, is not produced by species of common occurrence in foods. Secalonic acid D, the only secalonic acid produced by species, has significant animal toxicity. Basic procedures for mycotoxin assays are sampling and subsampling, extraction and cleanup, and detection, quantification, and confirmation. The newest approach to rapid assays involves the use of antibodies developed to specific toxins. Immunoassays using either spot or minicolumn tests have been developed for several major toxins. Much more research is needed to improve detection methods, to understand the ecology of toxigenic Penicillium species, and to evaluate the significance of Penicillium toxins in human health.

Citation: Pitt J. 2007. Toxigenic Species, p 551-562. In Doyle M, Beuchat L (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815912.ch25

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Penicillium camemberti
Penicillium expansum
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Figure 25.1

Penicilli representative of the four subgenera. (A) subgenus (); (B) subgenus (); (C) subgenus (); (D) subgenus (). Magnification, ×550.

Citation: Pitt J. 2007. Toxigenic Species, p 551-562. In Doyle M, Beuchat L (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815912.ch25
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Image of Figure 25.2
Figure 25.2

Some toxigenic species. (A) ; (B) ; (C) ; (D) . Magnification, ×550.

Citation: Pitt J. 2007. Toxigenic Species, p 551-562. In Doyle M, Beuchat L (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815912.ch25
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Generic image for table
Table 25.1

Significant mycotoxins produced by species

Citation: Pitt J. 2007. Toxigenic Species, p 551-562. In Doyle M, Beuchat L (ed), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815912.ch25

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