Although Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus are the main microorganisms of concern in peanuts, due to aflatoxin contamination, several Salmonella outbreaks from this product have been reported over the last ten decades. Thus, it is important to understand the relationship between microorganisms to predict, manage and estimate the diversity in the peanut supply chain. The purpose of this study was to evaluate aflatoxin production during the co-cultivation of Aspergillus section Flavi and Salmonella both isolated from peanuts. Three strains of A. section Flavi: A. flavus producing aflatoxin B, A. flavus non-producing aflatoxin and A. parasiticus producing aflatoxin B and G were co-cultivated with seven serotypes of Salmonella of which six were isolated from the peanut supply chain (S. Muenster, S. Miami, S. Glostrup, S. Javiana, S. Oranienburg and S. Yoruba) and one was S. Typhimurium ATCC 14028. First of all, each Salmonella strain was inoculated by pour plate (ca. 5 log cfu/mL) in PDA (potato dextrose agar). Then, each pre-cultured fungus was inoculated in the center of the petri dish. The plates were incubated at 30 °C and the fungal colony diameter was measured once a day for 7 days. As a control each Aspergillus strain was cultivated in the absence of Salmonella culture. All three strains of Aspergillus with absence of Salmonella (control) reached the maximum colony diameter and their growth rate was influenced when co-cultivated (p < 0.05) with all Salmonella serotypes tested. The maximum inhibition in the colony diameter was 20% for A. flavus aflatoxin B producer and A. parasiticus, and 18% for A. flavus non- aflatoxin producer when cultivated with Salmonella. However, no significant difference (p < 0.05) in reduction of colony diameter was observed among the Salmonella serotypes. Aflatoxin production was determined previously, by using the agar plug technique on thin layer chromatography (TLC). The production of aflatoxin G by A. parasiticus in co-cultivation with Salmonella was not observed. On the other hand, A. flavus preserved their characteristics of aflatoxin B production. The quantification of aflatoxin reduction by Salmonella interaction was evaluated using HPLC method. There was a maximum reduction of aflatoxin production of 88.7% and 72.9% in A. flavus and A. parasiticus, respectively, when cultivated with Salmonella. These results indicate that some serotypes of Salmonella may interfere with aflatoxin production and fungal growth of A. flavus and A. parasiticus in the peanut supply chain.
Keywords: Aspergillus section Flavi; Co-cultivation; Salmonella.
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