Mycotoxin Research

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 39-47

First online:

Oxidant/antioxidant balance inAspergillus parasiticus affects aflatoxin biosynthesis

  • M. ReverberiAffiliated withDipartimento di Biologia Vegetable, Universitá “La Sapienza”
  • , S. ZjalicAffiliated withDipartimento di Biologia Vegetable, Universitá “La Sapienza”
  • , A. RicelliAffiliated withInstitute of Sciences of Food Production, CNR
  • , A. A. FabbriAffiliated withDipartimento di Biologia Vegetable, Universitá “La Sapienza”
  • , C. FanelliAffiliated withDipartimento di Biologia Vegetable, Universitá “La Sapienza” Email author 

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A close correlation between lipoperoxide formation in cells ofAspergillus parasiticus and aflatoxin biosynthesis has been established in rich and poor media in which oxidative stress was induced by addition of cumene hydroperoxide, a lipoperoxidation inducer. The presence of hydroperoxides of linoleic acid inA. parasiticus mycelia was analysed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). This relation appears to be driven by activation of certain oxidative stress related transcription factors, such asyap1-like,skn7-like andhsf2-like. Activation of these factors then leads to the promotion of transcription of genes encoding antioxidant-related enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase.

The incomplete seavenging of intracellular oxidation inA. parasiticus cells can lead to aflatoxin biosynthesis. The relationship between oxidative stress and aflatoxin biosynthesis is indicated by the high correlation among increased activity of lipoperoxidation and the antioxidant defence system with formation of aflatoxins.

With regard to the relationship of oxidative stress and aflatoxin biosynthesis, the mechanism of action of butylated hydroxyl anisole (BHA), an antioxidant compound, in the control of aflatoxin biosynthesis was also investigated. Results indicate this compound can act,per se, by inhibiting lipoperoxidation and by inducing antioxidative defence responses of the fungal cell.


lipoperoxidation stress-controlled transcription factors antioxidation aflatoxin biosynthesis Aspergillus parasiticus