First, second, fifth, and sixth authors: Dipartimento di Scienze Animali, Vegetali e dell'Ambiente, Università del Molise, Via F. De Sanctis, 86100, Campobasso, Italy; third author: Istituto di Scienze delle Produzioni Alimentari, C.N.R. Via G. Amendola 122/O, 70126 Bari, Italy; and fourth author: Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Agro-Alimentari, Ambientali e Microbiologiche, Università del Molise, Via F. De Sanctis, 86100, Campobasso, Italy
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Accepted for publication 27 June 2005.
Contamination of apples (Malus domestica) and derived juices with fungicide residues and patulin produced by Penicillium expansum are major issues of food safety. Biocontrol agents represent an alternative or supplement to chemicals for disease control. Our data show that these microbes could also contribute to actively decreasing patulin accumulation in apples. Three biocontrol agents, Rhodotorula glutinis LS11, Cryptococcus laurentii LS28, and Aureobasidium pullulans LS30, were examined for their in vitro growth in the presence of patulin and for their capability to decrease mycotoxin recovery from the medium. Strain LS11 yielded the highest growth rates and the greatest decrease of toxin recoveries. Further, it caused the appearance of two major spots on thin-layer chromatography (TLC) plates, suggesting possible metabolization of the mycotoxin. In vivo, i.e., in the low percentage of LS11-pretreated apples infected by P. expansum, patulin accumulation was significantly lower than in nontreated infected fruits. Yeast cells survived and increased in infected apples and, in a model system emulating decaying apple, resulted in accelerated breakdown of patulin and the production of the same TLC spots as those detected in vitro. These data suggest that biocontrol yeast cells surviving in decaying apples could metabolize patulin and/or negatively affect its accumulation or synthesis. To our knowledge, this is the first report describing the effect of a biocontrol agent on patulin accumulation in vivo.
© 2005 The American Phytopathological Society