Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: May 5, 2011
Publication Date: September 7, 2011
Citation: Payne, G.A., Georgianna, D.R., Yu, J., Ehrlich, K., Brian, G.O., Bhatnagar, D. 2011. Genomics of Aspergillus flavus mycotoxin production. In: Fratamico, P., Liu, Y., Kathariou, S., editors. Genomes of Foodborne and Waterborne Pathogens. Washington, DC: ASM Press. pp 259-270.
The aspergilli show immense ecological and metabolic diversity. To date, the sequences of fifteen different Aspergillus genomes have been determined providing scientists with an exciting resource to improve the understanding of Aspergillus molecular genomics. Aspergillus flavus, one of the most widely known species of Aspergillus is an important opportunistic pathogen, the second leading cause of aspergillosis in humans, and a cause of contamination of preharvest and postharvest crops with, the carcinogenic mycotoxins, the aflatoxins. This chapter reviews the current status of research on genomic insights into the regulatory mechanisms that control fungal development and aflatoxin formation, and the potential for formation of other mycotoxins. This research has revealed an elegant biosynthetic pathways for aflatoxin and other secondary metaboliteproduction and a complex network of regulatory controls that affect their production. Genomics provides insights into the potential for A. flavus to be utilized as a biocontrol agent or to become more pathogenic and contaminate previously unsusceptible crops.