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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Food Quality Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #314882

Research Project: Methods for Rapid Identification and Functional Analysis of Fungi Causing Postharvest Decay of Pome Fruit

Location: Food Quality Laboratory

Title: Current status of genomics research on mycotoxigenic fungi

Author
item Yu, Jiujiang
item Jurick, Wayne
item BENNETT, JOAN - Rutgers University

Submitted to: International Journal of Plant Biology and Research
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/16/2015
Publication Date: 4/20/2015
Citation: Yu, J., Jurick, II, W.M., Bennett, J.W. 2015. Current status of genomics research on mycotoxigenic fungi. International Journal of Plant Biology and Research. 3(2):1-6.

Interpretive Summary: Mycotoxins are compounds produced by mold. Mycotoxins contaminate agricultural commodities such as grains, fruits and nuts. Due to their toxic and cancer-inducing properties, they pose a serious health hazard to animals and humans. Significant economic losses are reported to growers, packers, processors, and consumers annually. In this paper, the current status of genomic investigations on toxin-producing fungi has been summarized in order to better understand how they are produced and the biological aspects behind their formation. In addition, the advantages, challenges, and future perspectives in studying mycotoxins are discussed. The information and knowledge contained in this chapter may result in solutions to abate mycotoxin contamination of agricultural commodities for food safety.

Technical Abstract: Mold-produced secondary metabolites that are toxic and carcinogenic are termed mycotoxins. They are biosynthesized in a number of fungi, mainly from species in the Aspergillus, Fusarium and Penicillium genera. Mycotoxins contaminate agricultural commodities such as grains, fruits and nuts. Due to their toxic and carcinogenic properties, they pose a serious health hazard to animals and humans and cause staggering economic losses to growers, packers, processors, and consumers annually. Research on major mycotoxins, such as aflatoxins using molecular biological and genetic tools, have uncovered the genes, gene clusters, biosynthetic pathways, and genetic regulatory mechanisms involved in their formation. The field of genomics has empowered scientists with a high throughput tool to study mycotoxin biosynthesis and regulatory networks with a new level of scientific rigor. In this review, the current status of genomic investigations on mycotoxigenic fungi has been summarized in order to better understand their biosynthesis, genetic regulation, genome structure, and evolutionary aspects. In addition, the advantages, challenges, and future perspectives in studying mycotoxins are discussed. The information and knowledge contained in this chapter may result in solutions to abate mycotoxin contamination of agricultural commodities for human consumption and animal feed.