SCREENING AFLATOXIGENIC FUNGI IN SELECT SPICE SAMPLES BY PCRR. LATHA, SHADANAIKA, H.K. MANONMANP, ARUN CHANDRASHEKAR AND E.R. RATI
Aflatoxins are potent secondary metabolites produced commonly by Aspergillus flavus, A parasiticus and A. nornius. Primers were designed specifically for 0-methyl transferase (omt) gene that encodes the enzyme involved in the conversion of sterigmatocystin to 0-methylsterigmatocystin of aflatoxin biosynthetic pathway. Experimental conditions were standardized for optimum PCR. The omt primer pair gave specific PCR amplification for aflatoxigenic Aspergilli. It did not give amplification for non-aflatoxigenic. A. flavus, and other fungi such as A. oryzae, A. glaucus, Fusarium, Penicillium and for Rhizopus spp. Market samples of spices were screened for contamination by aflatoxigenic fungi both by traditional methods and by PCR. They gave positive amplification with enrichment technique for a flatoxigenic fungi at spore count of > 104 cfu/g.
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