Mycobiota and mycotoxin contamination of maize flours and popcorn kernels for human consumption commercialized in Spain

L. Alborch, M. R. Bragulat, G. Castellá, M. L. Abarca*, F. J. Cabañes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Mycobiota and co-occurrence of aflatoxins, citrinin, ochratoxin A and zearalenone in 30 samples of maize flours and 30 of popcorn kernels purchased in Spain for human consumption were determined. The mycotoxin-producing ability of Aspergillus, Fusarium and Penicillium spp. was also studied. Total fungal counts of maize flours ranged from <10 to 8.4 × 104 CFU/g and predominant mycobiota belonged to Aspergillus spp. and Penicillium spp. In popcorn kernels samples the most frequent species were Aspergillus spp., Mucorales, Fusarium spp. and Penicillium spp. Aflatoxins were produced by Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, citrinin by Penicillium citrinum and Penicillium verrucosum, ochratoxin A by Aspergillus niger and patulin by Aspergillus clavatus and Penicillium griseofulvum. Identification of all the mycotoxin-producing strains as well as some Aspergillus spp. difficult to identify using phenotypic characters only was also performed by molecular methods. Aflatoxins were detected in 14 maize flours and 2 popcorn kernels samples, while ochratoxin A was detected in 4 maize flours and 10 popcorn samples. Co-occurrence of aflatoxins and ochratoxin A was found in the 4 ochratoxin-positive maize flour samples. Citrinin and zearalenone were not detected. This is the first report of aflatoxins and ochratoxin A contamination in maize flours and popcorn kernels commercialized in Spain.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)97-103
Number of pages7
JournalFood Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • Aflatoxins
  • Maize flour
  • Mycobiota
  • Mycotoxins
  • Ochratoxin A
  • Popcorn kernels


Dive into the research topics of 'Mycobiota and mycotoxin contamination of maize flours and popcorn kernels for human consumption commercialized in Spain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this