Submitted to: Journal of Food Additives & Contaminants
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/30/2007
Publication Date: 9/9/2008
Citation: Yu, J., Payne, G.A., Nierman, W.C., Machida, M., Bennett, J.W., Campbell, B.C., Robens, J.F., Bhatnagar, D., Dean, R.A., Cleveland, T.E. 2008. Aspergillus flavus Genomics as a Tool for Studying the Mechanism of Aflatoxin Formation. Journal of Food Additives & Contaminants. 25(9):1152-1157. Interpretive Summary: Aspergillus flavus produces aflatoxins, toxic and cancer-inducing natural compounds. Contamination of agricultural food and feed commodities by aflatoxins is both a serious health problem and important economic issue. Due to health and food safety concern, the mechanism of aflatoxin formation and prevention of aflatoxin contamination have been studied. Aspergillus flavus genomics, such as expressed sequenced tags (EST), gene chip technologies, and whole genome sequencing strategies, provides a powerful tool for unraveling the mechanism of aflatoxin formation and for devising strategies for controlling aflatoxin contamination. In this manuscript, the preliminary results of our genomics programs have been reported.
Technical Abstract: Aspergillus flavus is a pathogen that infects plants, animals, and humans. It produces the most potent carcinogens, known as aflatoxins, when it infects agricultural crops. In order to devise strategies to control aflatoxin contamination of pre-harvest agricultural crops and post harvest grains during storage, we launched the A. flavus genomics program. The objectives are to identify genes involved in aflatoxin biosynthesis and to understand the mechanisms of its genetic regulation, as well as fungal pathogeneicity. The A. flavus whole genome sequencing has been completed. Initial annotation of the sequence revealed that there are about 13 071 genes in the A. flavus genome. Genes which potentially encode for enzymes involved in secondary metabolite production in the A. flavus genome have been identified. Preliminary comparative genome analysis of A. flavus with A. oryzae is summarized.