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MycoTOF -Determining mycotoxigenic molds and mycotoxins

At a glance


Food spoilage by molds is a very important issue, since molds negatively influence the food quality and safety, due to mycotoxin synthesis. Apart from being allergens or irritants, some of the health effects of mycotoxins found in animals and humans include death, identifiable diseases or health problems, or weakened immune systems. The prerequisite for the formation of mycotoxins are specific gene-pools that are activated depending on environmental conditions (matrix, temperatures, etc.). A determination of mycotoxigenic molds even prior to mycotoxin production by the respective strains would be of great value in food safety. One goal of the project is thus the development of a PCR assay for the detection of food relevant mycotoxigenic molds in food samples, which are able to produce aflatoxin, ochratoxin A, patulin, fumonisin, deoxynivalenol, or zearalenon. Furthermore, as a second goal, a collection of 550 molds isolated from cocoa beans during fermentation, drying, and storage will be identified by PCR of genus/species specific genes followed by sequencing analyses. In parallel to the PCR/sequencing identification, the respective mold isolates will be identified by MALDI-TOF MS, aiming at building a MALDI-TOF MS reference spectra database. MALDI-TOF MS is emerging as a modern diagnostic tool for quick microorganism identification by a high-throughput procedure.