Effects of Hydrogen Peroxide on Different Toxigenic and Atoxigenic Isolates of Aspergillus flavus.

PMID 26251922


Drought stress in the field has been shown to exacerbate aflatoxin contamination of maize and peanut. Drought and heat stress also produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) in plant tissues. Given the potential correlation between ROS and exacerbated aflatoxin production under drought and heat stress, the objectives of this study were to examine the effects of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced oxidative stress on the growth of different toxigenic (+) and atoxigenic (-) isolates of Aspergillus flavus and to test whether aflatoxin production affects the H2O2 concentrations that the isolates could survive. Ten isolates were tested: NRRL3357 (+), A9 (+), AF13 (+), Tox4 (+), A1 (-), K49 (-), K54A (-), AF36 (-), and Aflaguard (-); and one A. parasiticus isolate, NRRL2999 (+). These isolates were cultured under a H2O2 gradient ranging from 0 to 50 mM in two different media, aflatoxin-conducive yeast extract-sucrose (YES) and non-conducive yeast extract-peptone (YEP). Fungal growth was inhibited at a high H2O2 concentration, but specific isolates grew well at different H2O2 concentrations. Generally the toxigenic isolates tolerated higher concentrations than did atoxigenic isolates. Increasing H2O2 concentrations in the media resulted in elevated aflatoxin production in toxigenic isolates. In YEP media, the higher concentration of peptone (15%) partially inactivated the H2O2 in the media. In the 1% peptone media, YEP did not affect the H2O2 concentrations that the isolates could survive in comparison with YES media, without aflatoxin production. It is interesting to note that the commercial biocontrol isolates, AF36 (-), and Aflaguard (-), survived at higher levels of stress than other atoxigenic isolates, suggesting that this testing method could potentially be of use in the selection of biocontrol isolates. Further studies will be needed to investigate the mechanisms behind the variability among isolates with regard to their degree of oxidative stress tolerance and the role of aflatoxin production.

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Aflatoxin B1 from Aspergillus flavus, from Aspergillus flavus