First Report on Mould and Mycotoxin Contamination of Pistachios Sampled in Algeria
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Mycotoxin contamination of pistachios represents a serious food safety hazard. The aim of this study was to evaluate fungal contamination and aflatoxin (AF) and ochratoxin A (OTA) occurrence in pistachio sampled in Algeria and to study the mycotoxigenic capacities of the isolates. A total of 31 pistachio
samples were collected from retail outlets from different regions of Algeria. The most frequently found fungi were Penicillium spp. (38%), Aspergillus section Nigri (30%) and A. flavus (22%). A total of 56.5% of A. flavus isolates were able to produce AFB1 and AFB2. No A. section Nigri uniseriate isolate was OTA producer, whereas OTA production capacity was detected in 33.3% of the A. section Nigri biseriate. At least one of the potentially ochratoxigenic species was found in 64.5% of samples. Despite the high number of pistachio samples containing AFs and OTA-producing isolates, only two samples contained AFs (always below the EU maximum tolerable level) and only one sample showed OTA contamination. This is the first report on the occurrence of toxigenic moulds and mycotoxins in pistachios from Algerian market.