Mycotoxigenic potential of phytopathogenic moulds isolated from citrus fruits from different states of Mexico

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T. Sandoval-Contreras
A. Villarruel-López
R. Torres-Vitela
C. Garciglia-Mercado
G. Gómez-Anduro
A.E. Velázquez-Lizárraga
A. Sierra-Beltran
F. Ascencio


citrus fruits, moulds, post-harvest decay, mycotoxigenic potential, health risk


The main phytopathogenic moulds on citrus fruits, besides from causing great post-harvest losses, are capable of producing mycotoxins that are highly toxic for any human or animal that might eat them. The objective of this study was to determine the mycotoxigenic potential of moulds isolated from the phyllosphere of citrus fruits originating from different orchards and packing-houses in different places around Mexico. In this study, 258 moulds were isolated, finding up to 29 different genera, including host-specific citrus moulds as well as opportunist spoilage moulds. Their pathogenic potential was determined using Citrus latifolia T. (Persian lime), finding 17 phytopathogenic strains, including the presence of phytopathogenic species different from the ones most commonly studied, Penicillium italicum or Alternaria alternata, belonging to the Aspergillus genus and with a high degree of pathogenicity. Their mycotoxigenic potential was determined through molecular techniques, finding as a result that A. alternata, Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus carbonarius have the potential to produce mycotoxins by amplifying specific sequences that partake in the biosynthesis of mycotoxins such as Alternaria toxins, fumonisins, aflatoxins and ochratoxin, respectively. When these moulds receive a stimulus under certain environmental conditions, it might trigger production of such secondary and toxic metabolites. Knowledge of the behaviour of these microorganisms will help in developing the necessary strategies for their post-harvest control, thus ensuring the protection of the end consumer against exposure to such mycotoxins. This research also yielded the first register ever made of microbiota in citrus fruits grown in different states of Mexico.

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