Submitted to: Mycologia
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/29/2009
Publication Date: 6/8/2009
Citation: Horn, B.W., Moore, G.G., Carbone, I. 2009. Sexual reproduction in Aspergillus flavus. Mycologia. 101(3):423-429. Interpretive Summary: The mold Aspergillus flavus is the major producer of aflatoxins, highly carcinogenic compounds that contaminate various agricultural commodities. In this paper we describe the newly discovered sexual stage of the mold. The sexual stage might account for much of the genetic variation in A. parasiticus populations in the field and will be an important factor in devising new strategies for controlling aflatoxin contamination.
Technical Abstract: Aspergillus flavus is the major producer of carcinogenic aflatoxins in crops worldwide and is also an important opportunistic human pathogen in aspergillosis. The sexual state of this heterothallic fungus is described from crosses between strains of the opposite mating type. Sexual reproduction occurred between sexually compatible strains belonging to different vegetative compatibility groups. Multiple, indehiscent ascocarps containing asci and ascospores formed within the pseudoparenchymatous matrix of stromata, which places the fungus in the genus Petromyces. The teleomorph of P. flavus could not be distinguished from that of P. parasiticus (anamorph = A. parasiticus), another aflatoxin-producing species, based on morphology of the sexual structures. The two species can be separated by anamorph morphology, mycotoxin profile and molecular characters.