Modeling kinetics of aflatoxin production by Aspergillus flavus in maize-based medium and maize grain
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Predictive mycology has dealt mainly with germination, growth and inactivation of fungi while the issue of mycotoxin production remains relatively unexplored. Very few studies provide biomass dry weight/colony size data along with mycotoxin data for the same sample times, thus the ratio mycotoxin accumulation per fungal biomass dry weight/colony size has rarely been reported. For this reason, the objective of the present study was to model the kinetics of mycotoxin production under the assumption of existing both no-growth-associated and growth-associated production. Aspergillus flavus was chosen as a model mycotoxigenic microorganism, and it was grown in maize agar medium and maize grain at 0.90 and 0.99 aw at 25 °C. A significant positive correlation (p < 0.05) was observed among the biomass responses (colony radius and biomass dry weight) in agar medium and colony radius in maize at both aw levels assayed. The Luedeking–Piret model was used to model AFB1 production and reasonable percentages of variability were explained. Moreover, AFB1 production was in general slightly better predicted through colony area. As conclusion, aflatoxin production may follow a mixed-growth associated trend, confirming that toxin formation does not present a clear delay in relation to growth under certain conditions.