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Anti-mycotoxigenic efficacy of redox-active natural compounds and derivatives
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1  Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention Research Unit, Western Regional Research Center, USDA-ARS, 800 Buchanan St., Albany, CA 94710, USA
Academic Editor: Alessandra Durazzo


Contamination of the food supply by natural sources such as mycotoxins is problematic, with outbreaks of commodity-specific food products directly affecting the public health. This study addresses developing control measures to reduce or eliminate mycotoxin contamination by Aspergillus species by using natural products or their structural derivatives. The natural, redox‐active chemicals, such as benzoic compounds, can be potent redox cyclers that inhibit normal fungal physiology by disrupting cellular redox homeostasis, thus interfere with mycotoxin biosynthesis. Thirteen compounds, generally recognized as safe, were examined at concentrations maintaining fungal growth but inhibiting mycotoxin production in Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. Our data indicated that 4-isopropyl-3-methylphenol, structural analog of the natural compound thymol, exhibited a potent anti-mycotoxigenic activity while salicylic acid was less effective. Structure-activity relationship existed for the differential efficacy of test compounds on the inhibition of mycotoxin production. We concluded that selected natural products can be used for preventing mycotoxin contamination, which could be applicable to safe production of foods.

Keywords: Aspergillus; fungi; mycotoxins; natural compounds; 4-isopropyl-3-methylphenol