Rapid and accurate identification of black aspergilli from grapes using high-resolution melting (HRM) analysis

J Sci Food Agric. 2019 Jan 15;99(1):309-314. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.9189. Epub 2018 Jul 17.


Background: Aspergillus is a diverse genus of fungi with high economic and social impact. Various species that belong to section Nigri (black aspergilli) are common agents of grape spoilage and potent producers of ochratoxin A (OTA), a mycotoxin associated with various nephrotoxic and immunotoxic effects in humans. Black aspergilli are difficult to classify following only phenotypic criteria; thus chemotaxonomic and molecular methods are employed in parallel with phenotypic ones for species characterization. These approaches, though accurate and replicable, require more than one individual step and are to a certain extent laborious when a rapid identification of these species is required.

Results: The aim of this study was to develop a high-resolution melting polymerase chain reaction (HRM-PCR) assay as a rapid method for identification of Aspergillus spp. section Nigri isolates and their detection in grape samples. Melt curve analysis of amplicons originating from the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) ribosomal region generated species-specific HRM curve profiles, enabling the accurate differentiation of the analyzed genotypes. Furthermore, the assay was able to identify A. carbonarius, A. tubingensis, A. niger, A. ibericus and A. japonicus in grape samples artificially inoculated with conidia of these fungi.

Conclusion: To our knowledge this is the first report on the development of an HRM-PCR assay for the identification of black Aspergillus species in grape samples. © 2018 Society of Chemical Industry.

Keywords: HRM analysis; black aspergilli; genotyping; grape; identification; isolates.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aspergillus / classification
  • Aspergillus / genetics
  • Aspergillus / isolation & purification*
  • DNA, Fungal / chemistry
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics
  • Mycological Typing Techniques / methods*
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Transition Temperature
  • Vitis / microbiology*


  • DNA, Fungal