Modelling Aspergillus flavus growth and aflatoxins production in pistachio nuts
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Aflatoxins (AFs) are the main contaminants in pistachio nuts. AFs production in pistachio has been attributed to Aspergillus flavus. The aim of this study was to apply existing models to predict growth and AFs production by an A. flavus isolated from pistachios as a function of moisture content and storage temperature of pistachios in order to test their usefulness and complementarities. A full factorial design was used: the moisture content levels assayed were 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30% and incubation temperatures were 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 37 and 42 °C. Both kinetic and probability models were built to predict growth of the strain under the assayed conditions. Among the assayed models, cardinal ones gave a good quality fit for radial growth rate data. Moreover, the progressive approach, which was developed based on a reduced number of experimental points led to an improved prediction in the validation step. This is quite significant as may allow for improved experimental designs, less costly than full factorial ones. Probability model proved to be concordant in 91% of the calibration set observations. Even though the validation set included conditions around the growth/no-growth interface, there was a 100% agreement in the predictions from the data set (n = 16, cut off = 0.5) after 60 days. Similarly, the probability for AF presence was rightly predicted in 89% of the cases. According to our results EC maximum aflatoxin levels would be surpassed in a period as short as 1 month if pistachio nuts reach 20 °C, unless %mc is ≤10%.
Is part ofFood Microbiology, 2012, vol. 32, núm. 2, p. 378-388
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