Factors determining accumulation of mycotoxin producers in cereal grain during harvesting
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Laboratory of Biodeterioration Research, Institute of Botany, Vilnius, Lithuania
Lithuanian University of Agriculture, Department of Heat and Biotechnological Engineering, Kaunas, Lithuania
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2007;14(1):173–186
During the meteorologically contrasting period of 2003-2005, the contamination of winter wheat, malt barley and fodder barley grain with micromycetes during grain harvesting and preparation for storage was investigated. Micromycetes of over 70 species ascribed to 16 genera were isolated and identifi ed, the density of their populations in grain was determined. Micromycetes with a population density of >50% were attributed to dominant species. Short biological characteristic, ecological peculiarities of the dominating micromycetes are provided; factors determining intensity of their development and abilities to synthesise and excrete toxic metabolites are indicated. The importance of grain drying for stabilisation of its contamination with micromycete propagules is highlighted. It is noted that in grain dried in shaft dryer using air at 90°C the number of cfu (colony forming units) was reduced from 2.2 to 8.2 times. When active ventilation is applied, conditions favourable for the development of micromycetes remain longest in the upper layers of the mound. The airflow passing through the layer of damp grain inhibits the development of micromycetes, but an increase of comparative air flow for more than 500 m3·(t·h)-1 did not reduce the abundance of micromycete cfu. After drying Alternaria alternata, Fusarium avenaceum, F. culmorum, Penicillum verrucosum dominated in wheat grain; Aspergillus flavus, Bipolaris sorokiniana, Fusarium chlamydosporum, F. culmorum, F. tricinctum in malts barley grain; Fusarium avenaceum, F. culmorum, F. tricinctum, Alternaria alternata in fodder barley grain. It has been determined that all micromycetes recorded on grain after drying are potential producers of toxic metabolites, i.e. are hazardous to human health.