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Res Microbiol. 2005 May;156(4):515-21. Epub 2005 Feb 19.

Mycotoxin-producing and other fungi isolated from grapes for wine production, with particular emphasis on ochratoxin A.

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Centro de Engenharia Biol├│gica, Universidade do Minho, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal.


Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites produced by filamentous fungi that have been detected in food commodities, including grapes and wine. A survey was conducted to assess mycotoxin-producing fungi in grapes destined for wine production. The mycotoxigenic capacity of the isolates was tested in culture media. Grapes were analyzed by plating methods from 4 Portuguese wine-growing regions at 3 maturation stages (pea berry, early veraison and ripe berry) between 2001 and 2003. From the 10,602 strains detected and identified, the most frequent genera were Cladosporium (25%), Alternaria (24%), Botrytis (15%), Penicillium (9%) and Aspergillus (8%). Most (92.0%) were non-mycotoxigenic or produced mycotoxins of unknown relevance to health. Potential producers of ochratoxin A (OTA) (Aspergillus niger aggregate, 5.4%, Aspergillus carbonarius, 0.6%) and trichothecenes (Fusarium spp., 0.4%; Trichothecium roseum, 0.8%) were the most frequent mycotoxigenic species isolated from grapes. OTA was detected in all cultures of A. carbonarius and 4% of A. niger aggregate strains. There was potential for OTA and trichothecene production in grapes by A. carbonarius and T. roseum, respectively, prior to harvest time. Data presented herein indicate that A. carbonarius is most likely to occur in vineyards with Mediterranean climates, while T. roseum is more likely to occur in more temperate climates, and is associated with gray rot. The present work emphasizes the need to use grapes under good condition so as to reduce the risk of contamination with mycotoxigenic fungi and subsequent mycotoxin occurrence in wine.

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