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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGICAL CONTROL OF INSECTS AND MICROORGANISMS TO PREVENT MYCOTOXIN CONTAMINATION Title: Letter to the Editor: Styrene-producing microbes in food-stuff

Author
item Beck, John

Submitted to: Journal of Food Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 25, 2009
Publication Date: March 25, 2010
Citation: Beck, J.J. 2010. Letter to the Editor: Styrene-producing microbes in food-stuff. Journal of Food Science. 75(1):X.

Interpretive Summary: An article was published in Journal of Food Science, August 2009 (Vol. 74, Nr 6) entitled “Natural formation of styrene by cinnamon mold flora”. In the article, the authors reported on the production of styrene from several fungi typically found on cinnamon, and used cinnamic acid and similar analogues to elucidate a probable biogenesis of styrene. It was encouraging to see further research devoted to the important topic of volatile organic compound (VOC) emission from ubiquitous food-stuff microbes. VOCs emitted from varying microbes have demonstrated a wide range of activities, acting as indicators of food spoilage, and have been implicated in complex insect and plant interactions. Additionally, many fungi are known to produce toxins (mycotoxins) and thus present serious food safety issues. The authors concluded that styrene was generated from cinnamic acid by feeding cinnamic-d7 acid to the fungi and detecting the resultant styrene-d7 produced, and also demonstrated production of volatile styrene from three of the five fungi when incubated at room temperature (25 oC) within a five-day time frame. The paper in question addressed the issue of styrene-producing microbes found in cinnamon from numerous regions. The letter to the editor discussed other investigations reporting on similar findings through 13C-labeled studies, as well as similar growth conditions of microbes that produce styrene on food-stuff.

Technical Abstract: An article was published in Journal of Food Science, August 2009 (Vol. 74, Nr 6) entitled “Natural formation of styrene by cinnamon mold flora”. In the article, the authors reported on the production of styrene from several fungi typically found on cinnamon, and used cinnamic acid and similar analogues to elucidate a probable biogenesis of styrene. It was encouraging to see further research devoted to the important topic of volatile organic compound (VOC) emission from ubiquitous food-stuff microbes. VOCs emitted from varying microbes have demonstrated a wide range of activities, acting as indicators of food spoilage, and have been implicated in complex insect and plant interactions. Additionally, many fungi are known to produce toxins (mycotoxins) and thus present serious food safety issues. The authors concluded that styrene was generated from cinnamic acid by feeding cinnamic-d7 acid to the fungi and detecting the resultant styrene-d7 produced, and also demonstrated production of volatile styrene from three of the five fungi when incubated at room temperature (25 oC) within a five-day time frame. The paper in question addressed the issue of styrene-producing microbes found in cinnamon from numerous regions. The letter to the editor discussed other investigations reporting on similar findings through 13C-labeled studies, as well as similar growth conditions of microbes that produce styrene on food-stuff.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014
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