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Toxins (Basel). 2020 Jan 30;12(2). pii: E93. doi: 10.3390/toxins12020093.

A Liquid Chromatographic Method for Rapid and Sensitive Analysis of Aflatoxins in Laboratory Fungal Cultures.

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Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1550 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


Culture methods supplemented with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) technique provide a rapid and simple tool for detecting levels of aflatoxins (AFs) produced by fungi. This study presents a robust method for simultaneous quantification of aflatoxin (AF) B1, B2, G1, and G2 levels in several fungal cultivation states: submerged shake culture, liquid slant culture, and solid-state culture. The recovery of the method was evaluated by spiking a mixture of AFs at several concentrations to the test medium. The applicability of the method was evaluated by using aflatoxigenic and non-aflatoxigenic Aspergilli. A HPLC coupled with the diode array (DAD) and fluorescence (FLD) detectors was used to determine the presence and amounts of AFs. Both detectors showed high sensitivity in detecting spiked AFs or AFs produced in situ by toxigenic fungi. Our methods showed 76%-88% recovery from medium spiked with 2.5, 10, 50, 100, and 500 ng/mL AFs. The limit of quantification (LOQ) for AFs were 2.5 to 5.0 ng/mL with DAD and 0.025 to 2.5 ng/mL with FLD. In this work, we described in detail a protocol, which can be considered the foremost and only verified method, to extract, detect, and quantify AFs employing both aflatoxigenic and non-toxigenic Aspergilli.


HPLC; aflatoxins; detection limits; extraction; laboratory culture; recovery

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Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

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