Effect of carbendazim and physicochemical factors on the growth and ochratoxin A production of Aspergillus carbonarius isolated from grapes.

Research paper by Angel A Medina, Rufino R Mateo, Francisco M FM Valle-Algarra, Eva M EM Mateo, Misericordia M Jiménez

Indexed on: 04 Sep '07Published on: 04 Sep '07Published in: International Journal of Food Microbiology


Carbendazim is a systemic fungicide that is commonly used on several crops (tobacco, fruit, vegetables, cereals, etc.). This fungicide is used to control fungal infections in vineyards. It is indicated against Botrytis cinerea, Uncinula necator, Plasmopara viticola and other fungi and can be used either alone or coupled with other fungicides. However, there is a lack of in-depth studies to evaluate its effectiveness against growth of Aspergillus carbonarius isolated from grapes and OTA production. A medium based on red grape juice was used in this study. Preliminary studies were performed at 0.98 a(w) and 25 degrees C using carbendazim concentrations over a wide range (1-2000 ng/ml medium) to control both growth of a strain of A. carbonarius isolated from grape and its ability to produce OTA. As the lag phase increased considerably at levels > 1000 ng/ml of medium, detailed studies were carried out in the range 50-450 ng/ml of medium at 0.98-0.94 a(w) and 20-28 degrees C. Statistical analysis (multifactor ANOVA) of the data revealed that the three factors assayed and the interactions a(w)-carbendazim concentration and a(w)-temperature had significant effects on lag phase duration. The highest lag-times were observed at 0.94 a(w,) 20 degrees C, and with 450 ng carbendazim/ml. The three factors also had significant effects of the growth rate and there was an interaction between a(w) and temperature. The growth rate of A. carbonarius in these cultures is favoured by high water availability and relatively high temperatures. However, addition of carbendazim at the assayed levels did not significantly influenced fungal growth rate. Accumulation of OTA was studied as a function of four factors (the three previously considered, and time). All factors had significant effects on the accumulation of OTA. There were also two significant interactions (a(w)-temperature and temperature-time). On the basis of the results obtained, carbendazim does not increase the lag phase of A. carbonarius except at relatively low a(w) and temperatures. It does not substantially decrease fungal growth rate once growth is apparent but it appears to cause an increase in OTA accumulation in the medium at the doses assayed. Carbendazim, which is widely used against fungal infections in grape, can positively influence OTA production by A. carbonarius in field, which can increase OTA content in grape juices and wines.