New ochratoxin source identified
Several Aspergillus spp fungi that had been thought incapable of producing mycotoxins have been found to produce ochratoxin. Researchers from the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service identified 18 members of the A niger var niger species complex capable of infecting maize and peanuts as endophytes, three of which could produce ochratoxin when grown on maize grain. Previously, they had been deemed to be non-mycotoxin producers on the basis of results from in vitro culture tests. Although not regulated in the US, ochratoxin is regulated by the EU as a potential carcinogen.