Fumonisin contamination and fumonisin producing black Aspergilli in dried vine fruits of different origin

J. Varga, S. Kocsubé, K. Suri, G. Szigeti, A. Szekeres, M. Varga, B. Tóth, T. Bartók

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Aspergillus niger isolates are able to produce fumonisins in high quantities on agar media with a low water activity. Several agricultural products fit this criterion, including dried vine fruits, dates and figs. Data on the occurrence and role of this species in fumonisin contamination of agricultural products with high sugar content are needed to clarify the importance of A. niger in human health. The mycobiota and fumonisin contamination of various dried vine fruit samples collected from different countries were examined to clarify the role of black Aspergilli in fumonisin contamination of such products. All except two of the examined samples were contaminated with black Aspergilli. Species assignment of the isolates was carried out using sequence analysis of part of the calmodulin gene. The range of fumonisin isomers present in the raisin samples, and produced by A. niger isolates collected from dried vine fruits was also examined using reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization-ion trap mass spectrometry (RP-HPLC/ESI-ITMS). Among the 30 A. niger/A. awamori isolates identified, 20 were found to be able to produce fumonisins (average contamination: 5.16mg/kg; range: 0.017-19.6mg/kg). The average fumonisin content of the 7 dried vine fruit samples which were found to be contaminated by potential fumonisin producing black Aspergilli was 7.22mg/kg (range: 4.55-35.49mg/kg). The isolates produced several fumonisin isomers also present in the dried vine fruit samples, including fumonisins B1-4, 3-epi-FB3, 3-epi-FB4, iso-FB1, and two iso-FB2,3 forms. Fumonisin B1 was detected for the first time in A. niger cultures. Most of these isomers have previously only been identified in Fusarium species. Our data indicate that A. niger and A. awamori are responsible for fumonisin contamination of dried vine fruits worldwide. The observed levels of contamination are alarming and pose a new threat for food safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-149
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 15 2010



  • Aspergillus niger
  • Calmodulin sequencing
  • Dried vine fruit
  • Fumonisin
  • Reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization-ion trap mass spectrometry (RP-HPLC/ESI-ITMS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Microbiology

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