Influence of barley malting operating parameters on T-2 and HT-2 toxinogenesis of Fusarium langsethiae, a worrying contaminant of malting barley in Europe

C Strub, D Pocaznoi, A Lebrihi, R Fournier, F Mathieu
Food Additives & Contaminants. Part A, Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure & Risk Assessment 2010, 27 (9): 1247-52
The fungus Fusarium langsethiae, exclusively described in Europe at present, seems to have taken the place of other Fusarium species in barley fields over the last 5 years. It has proved to be a highly toxic type-A trichothecene producer (T-2 and HT-2 toxins). The aim of this work was to study the ecotoxinogenesis of this fungus the better to identify and manage the health risk it may pose during the beer manufacturing process. The influence of temperature and water activity on its growth rate and production of toxins are particularly assessed from a macroscopic point of view. Different cultures were grown on sterilized rehydrated barley with a water activity between 0.630 and 0.997 and a temperature ranging from 5 to 35 degrees C. Biomass specific to F. langsethiae and T-2 and HT-2 toxins were quantified by real-time polymerase chain reaction and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, respectively. It appears that the optimal temperature and water activity for F. langsethiae toxinogenesis are 28 degrees C and 0.997. This fungus was able to produce 2.22 g kg(-1) of these toxins in 16 days on barley in optimal production conditions. The malting process seems to be a critical step because, in its temperature range, specific production was six times higher than under optimal temperatures for fungus growth. In the short-term, this work will help redefine the process conditions for malting. In the medium-term, the results will contribute to the development of a molecular tool to diagnose the presence of this contaminant and the detection of the toxins in barley, from fields to the end product.

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