Effects of volatile aldehydes from Aspergillus-resistant varieties of corn on Aspergillus parasiticus growth and aflatoxin biosynthesis

Toxicon. 2000 Sep;38(9):1215-23. doi: 10.1016/s0041-0101(99)00221-4.


The fungi Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus produce a potent class of hepatocarcinogens known as aflatoxins. Corn-derived volatile compounds have been previously found to affect growth and aflatoxin production in A. flavus. In this study, the effects on A. parasiticus of three corn-derived volatile compounds, n-decyl aldehyde, hexanal and octanal, were measured. These three compounds were previously found to be variably expressed in five Aspergillus-resistant maize strains and three susceptible strains. In this study, A. parasiticus radial growth was restricted least by n-decyl aldehyde and most by octanal. Treatments of 100 microl of both hexanal and octanal were found to completely inhibit radial growth of the fungus using an agar plate assay method. While the volatile compound n-decyl aldehyde had less of an effect on radial growth than the other volatiles, the n-decyl aldehyde treated colonies had a predominance of uniquely aerial hyphae. These colony structures were found to have more complex hyphae and significantly fewer conidiophores than the control and other aldehyde treatments. Furthermore, aflatoxin production by the fungus was reduced by n-decyl aldehyde and hexanal, but was stimulated by octanal. The results presented here indicate that all three volatile compounds reduce radial growth but only n-decyl aldehyde significantly inhibits aflatoxin biosynthesis in A. parasiticus.

MeSH terms

  • Aflatoxins / biosynthesis*
  • Aldehydes / chemistry
  • Aldehydes / pharmacology*
  • Aspergillus / drug effects*
  • Aspergillus / growth & development
  • Aspergillus / metabolism
  • Hexobarbital / chemistry
  • Hexobarbital / pharmacology
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology*
  • Zea mays / chemistry*
  • Zea mays / genetics


  • Aflatoxins
  • Aldehydes
  • decanaldehyde
  • Hexobarbital
  • caprylic aldehyde