Fungal Food Spoilers

Spoilage molds can be categorized into four main groups: Zygomycetes, Penicillium, Aspergillus and other molds. Yeasts and molds are responsible for dairy product spoilage, resulting in significant food waste and economic losses. In addition, some species belonging to the genera Aspergillus, Fusarium and Penicillium are mycotoxigenic. Mycotoxins are a class of highly toxic chemical compounds produced under specific environmental conditions by several molds. The presence of this diverse group of fungal secondary metabolites on feed or food presents wide fluctuation from year to year mainly because of the large number of factors affecting fungal invasion and growth. Some of these critical factors include fungal strain and inoculum concentration, climate and geographical conditions, cultivation techniques and postharvest handling. Consumption of food contaminated with mycotoxins has been linked with carcinogenic, nephrotoxic and teratogenic potency and, generally, suppressive actions on the immune system.

 

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