Aflatoxins: biosynthesis, prevention and eradication

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Abstract

Filamentous fungi belonging to Aspergilli genera produce many compounds through various biosynthetic pathways. These compounds include a spectrum of products with beneficial medical properties (lovastatin) as well as those that are toxic and/or carcinogenic which are called mycotoxins. Aspergillus flavus, one of the most abundant soil-borne fungi, is a saprobe that is able growing on many organic nutrient sources, such as peanuts, corn and cotton seed. In many countries, food contamination by A. flavus is a huge problem, mainly due to the production of the most toxic and carcinogenic compounds known as aflatoxins. In this paper, we briefly cover current progress in aflatoxin biosynthesis and regulation, pre- and postharvest preventive measures, and decontamination procedures.

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