Members of Aspergillus section Nigri are distributed worldwide, being considered as common food spoilage fungi. Some species of this section produce ochratoxin A (OTA), mainly Aspergillus carbonarius and several members of the Aspergillus niger aggregate. Detection of ochratoxigenic A. niger aggregate strains is important to prevent OTA contamination in foodstuffs. A new Real Time PCR procedure has been developed for the rapid and specific detection and quantification of ochratoxin A-producing strains of the A. niger aggregate. Two specific primers delimiting a 120 bp fragment and a probe were designed and directed to a polyketide synthase (PKS) from A. niger CBS 513.88 genome. This PKS has a strong similarity to PKS of A. ochraceus fragment involved in ochratoxin biosynthesis. Specificity was confirmed by testing primers towards purified DNA from 91 fungal strains, including reference and food isolates. The SYBR-Green and the TaqMan approaches developed allowed the specific detection only of ochratoxigenic strains of the A. niger aggregate. All other analyzed food related fungi gave negative results. This is the first report on a Real Time PCR system for the detection of OTA-producing strains of the A. niger aggregate. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
- A. niger aggregate
- Ochratoxin A
- Polyketide synthase
- Real time polymerase chain reaction