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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Chemical Approaches to Eliminate Fungal Contamination and Mycotoxin Production in Plant Products

Location: Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention

Title: Enhancement of commercial antifungal agents by kojic acid

Authors
item Kim, Jong Heon
item Chang, Perng Kuang
item Chan, Kathleen
item Faria, Natalia C. -
item Mahoney, Noreen
item Kim, Young -
item Martins, M. DE -
item Campbell, Bruce

Submitted to: International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 23, 2012
Publication Date: October 26, 2012
Citation: Kim, J.H., Chang, P., Chan, K.L., Faria, N.G., Mahoney, N.E., Kim, Y., Martins, M.L., Campbell, B.C. 2012. Enhancement of activity of commercial antifungal agents by kojic acid. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 13:13867-13880. DOI:10.3390/ijms131113867.

Interpretive Summary: Kojic acid is a natural compound commonly produced by a number of fungi. One fungus, Aspergillus oryzae, is commonly used to produce a variety of consumable products, such as soy sauce, miso, sake and rice wine. Large quantities of kojic acid are produced as a by-product of these fermentative processes. Thus far, kojic acid has been widely used as a food additive, to prevent browning, and in cosmetics, for skin depigmentation, such as “age spots.” ARS scientists have discovered, yet, another potential use for kojic acid. In this report we show that adding small amounts of kojic acid can improve the antifungal activity of certain commercial products used to kill fungi, both in agriculture and medical or veterinary situations. Since kojic acid is considered a safe compound, it shows promise as a supplement to improve drugs and fungicides for control of problematic fungi.

Technical Abstract: Kojic acid (KA), a natural by-product of fungal fermentation, is a commonly used food and cosmetic additive. We show that KA increases activity of amphotericin B and strobilurin, medical and agricultural antifungal agents, respectively, possibly targeting the fungal antioxidative system. KA shows promise as a chemosensitizing enhancer of antimycotic activity.

Last Modified: 9/20/2014