Influence of a glyphosate-based herbicide on growth parameters and aflatoxin B1 production by Aspergillus section Flavi on maize grains

Rev Argent Microbiol. 2021 Apr-Jun;53(2):162-170. doi: 10.1016/j.ram.2020.09.004. Epub 2020 Nov 22.


Glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) are the main pesticides applied worldwide on maize production. Glyphosate-resistant weeds led to the repeated application of high doses of the pesticide. In addition to environmental conditions, the presence of GBH affects the development of Aspergillus species and aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) production under in vitro conditions. The aim of this work was to evaluate the influence of a commercial GBH on growth and AFB1 production by Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus strains under different water activity (aW) conditions. The following concentrations of active ingredient glyphosate were evaluated: 20, 50, 200 and 500mM. The lag phase prior to growth and growth rate did not change at 20 and 50mM (that is, at field recommended doses) at 0.98 and 0.95 aW; however, at increasing GBH concentrations, between 200 and 500mM, the growth rate decreased at all aW conditions. In general, as the GBH concentration increased, AFB1 production decreased. However, a significant increase in toxin accumulation was found only at one of the aW conditions (0.95) at 21 days with 50mM of GBH in A. flavus and 20 and 50mM of GBH in A. parasiticus. These results show that, even though Aspergillus section Flavi growth did not increase, AFB1 production increased on maize grains at GBH concentrations similar to those of field recommended doses under favorable water availability and temperature conditions.

Keywords: Aflatoxin B(1); Aflatoxina B(1); Aspergillus flavus; Aspergillus parasiticus; Glyphosate-based herbicides; Granos de maíz; Herbicidas a base de glifosato; Maize grains.

MeSH terms

  • Aflatoxin B1*
  • Aspergillus
  • Aspergillus flavus
  • Glycine / analogs & derivatives
  • Herbicides* / pharmacology
  • Zea mays


  • Herbicides
  • glyphosate
  • Aflatoxin B1
  • Glycine

Supplementary concepts

  • Aspergillus parasiticus