Hypersaline waters - a potential source of foodborne toxigenic aspergilli and penicillia

Lorena Butinar, Jens Christian Frisvad, Nina Gunde-Cimerman

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


    Previous studies of hypersaline environments have revealed the dominant presence of melanized yeast-like fungi and related Cladosporium spp. In this study, we focused on the genera Aspergillus and Penicillium and their teleomorphic forms. From oligotrophic and eutrophic hypersaline waters around the world, 60 different species were identified, according to their morphological characteristics and extrolite profiles. For the confirmation of five new species, additionally, sequence analysis of the internal transcribed spacer region, the partial large subunit-rDNA and the partial beta-tubulin gene was performed. The species Aspergillus niger, Eurotium amstelodami and Penicillium chrysogenum were detected with the highest frequencies at all of the sampled sites; thus, they represent the pan-global stable mycobiota in hypersaline environments. Possible candidates were also Aspergillus sydowii and Eurotium herbariorum, as they were quite evenly distributed among the sampled sites, and Aspergillus candidus, which was abundant, but more locally distributed. These species and their byproducts can accumulate downstream following evaporation of brine, and they can become entrapped in the salt crystals. Consequently, marine salt used for consumption can be a potential source of food-borne fungi and their byproducts. For example, ochratoxin-A-producing species Penicillium nordicum was recovered from brine, salt and salted meat products.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalF E M S Microbiology Ecology
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)186-199
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Halotolerant
    • Halophily
    • Penicillium
    • Biodiversity
    • Aspergillus
    • Hypersaline water


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