Study of the effect of water activity and temperature on ochratoxin A production by Aspergillus carbonarius

A. Esteban, M. L. Abarca, M. R. Bragulat, F. J. Cabañes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of water activity (aw) (0.78-0.99) and temperature (15 and 30 °C) on growth and production of ochratoxin A (OTA) of six Aspergillus carbonarius strains was studied in two culture media: Czapek yeast autolysate (CYA) agar and yeast extract sucrose (YES) agar, during a period of 30 days. The strains were selected to include different sources and different reported abilities to produce OTA and were characterized by RAPD and ITS-5.8S rDNA sequencing. CYA showed to be better culture medium than YES for OTA production in the isolates tested. OTA concentration was higher at 15 °C than at 30 °C. At 30 °C, ranges for OTA production were more restrictive than those for growth. OTA was produced from 0.86, 0.90 or 0.94 aw depending on the strain. At 15 °C, growth and OTA production were detected only in the 0.94-0.99 aw range. The molecular study performed showed that five of the strains were conspecific and no correlation was found between molecular data and the OTA production level or origin. The remaining strain had never been able to produce OTA and will probably represent a new species in the Aspergillus section Nigri. Our results show that A. carbonarius is able to grow and produce OTA in a wide range of water activities at both high and low temperatures. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)634-640
Number of pages7
JournalFood Microbiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2006


  • Aspergillus carbonarius
  • Coffee
  • Grapes
  • Ochratoxin A
  • Temperature
  • Water activity
  • Wine


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