Ochratoxigenic moulds and effectiveness of grape field antifungals in a climatic change scenario
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BACKGROUND: The presence of ochratoxin A (OTA) in grapes and grape derivatives has been reported mainly in the Mediterranean area. Consequently, great efforts are being made to prevent the growth of Aspergillus on grapes. However, the European Commission suggests that climate change may result in increased temperatures and longer drought periods in southern Europe. Therefore the aim of this study was to investigate how ochratoxigenic fungal growth and the efficiency of fungicides used at present might be affected by environmental conditions predicted with climate change. RESULTS: The effectiveness of grape field antifungals (Switch, Flint Max and Equisetum arvense extract) under two alternating temperature, photoperiod and relative humidity (RH) scenarios (current: 20/30 ◦C, 16 h light/8 h darkness, 80% RH; predicted: 25/37 ◦C, 16 h light/8 h darkness, 75% RH) on the growth and OTA production of two Aspergillus carbonarius isolates and one Aspergillus ochraceus isolate on grapes was investigated. CONCLUSION: Predicted conditions reduced A. carbonarius and limited A. ochraceus growth. Antifungals reduced fungal infection (by 40-84%), although no correlation between climatic conditions and effectiveness of the antifungals was found. However, Switch always showed the greatest reduction and E. arvense (0.02 g mL−1 extract) the least. Higher temperatures affected OTA production by the isolates in different ways. In general, Switch and Flint Max reduced OTA production, while E. arvense stimulated it.