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Int J Food Microbiol. 2003 Mar 25;81(3):185-93.

SEM study of water activity and temperature effects on the initial growth of Aspergillus ochraceus, Alternaria alternata and Fusarium verticillioides on maize grain. Scanning electron microscopy.

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Pathology Laboratory, CeRTA Post-Harvest Area, UdL-IRTA Center. Av. Rovira Roure, 191, 25198 Lleida, Spain.


A scanning electron microscopy (SEM) study of the effect of water activity (a(w)), temperature and fungal interactions on the very early phases of Aspergillus ochraceus, Alternaria alternata and Fusarium verticillioides development on maize grains was carried out. Germination and growth of individual fungal strains were assayed at 0.92, 0.95 and 0.98 a(w), and 20 and 30 degrees C. Hyphal lengths were measured on micrographs taken by SEM at different periods of incubation. A. alternata had the highest linear growth at 0.98 a(w), and was the only species able to grow under all conditions tested, whereas A. ochraceus was not able to germinate at 0.92 a(w) at any temperature assayed. F. verticillioides demonstrated a different behaviour depending on growth temperature. Fungal interactions were studied at 0.95a(w) and 30 degrees C. A. ochraceus germination was inhibited when it was co-inoculated with one or two of the other species. A. alternata showed an increased growth rate when growing together with the other fungi, whereas growth of F. verticillioides was significantly inhibited when paired with A. ochraceus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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