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J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2014 Aug;24(8):1081-7.

Non-aflatoxigenicity of commercial Aspergillus oryzae strains due to genetic defects compared to aflatoxigenic Aspergillus flavus.

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Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Health Science, Korea University, Seoul 136-703, Republic of Korea.


Aspergillus oryzae is generally recognized as safe, but it is closely related to A. flavus in morphology and genetic characteristics. In this study, we tested the aflatoxigenicity and genetic analysis of nine commercial A. oryzae strains that were used in Korean soybean fermented products. Cultural and HPLC analyses showed that none of the commercial strains produced detectable amount of aflatoxins. According to the molecular analysis of 17 genes in the aflatoxin (AF) biosynthetic pathway, the commercial strains could be classified into three groups. The group I strains contained all the 17 AF biosynthetic genes tested in this study; the group II strains deleted nine AF biosynthetic genes and possessed eight genes, including aflG, aflI, aflK, aflL, aflM, aflO, aflP, and aflQ; the group III strains only had six AF biosynthetic genes, including aflG, aflI, aflK, aflO, aflP, and aflQ. With the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, the group I A. oryzae strains showed no expression of aflG, aflQ and/or aflM genes, which resulted in the lack of AF-producing ability. Group II and group III strains could not produce AF owing to the deletion of more than half of the AF biosynthetic genes. In addition, the sequence data of polyketide synthase A (pksA) of group I strains of A. oryzae showed that there were three point mutations (two silent mutations and one missense mutation) compared with aflatoxigenic A. flavus used as the positive control in this study.

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