Dusanka Kitic, Dusica Pavlovic and Suzana Brankovic Pages 2767 - 2790 ( 24 )
Fungi are an important group of microorganisms. They are studied due to their significant impact on the environment, industry and human health. In relation to biological aspects, biogeochemical cycling of elements, the world of nature would not be possible without the contribution of fungi as the primary decomposers of organic material. On the other hand, food decay by the fungi spoilage causes considerable economic losses and constitutes a health risk for consumers due to the potential of fungi to produce mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are chemically diverse secondary metabolites that can be harmful both to animal and human health. Aflatoxins, a widely studied group of toxins among mycotoxins, are mainly biosynthesized by Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. Therefore, the control of fungi and the production of aflatoxins, especially the most toxic aflatoxins B1 and G1, is essential and decisive. Over the last few decades, numerous studies have demonstrated that plants, especially their essential oils, contain diverse bioactive components that can protect crops from becoming contaminated by different mold species, Aspergillus in particular, with an emphasis on A. flavus and A. parasiticus; as well as that, they can prevent the contamination of food produce during the processing and storage and prevent the production of aflatoxins. Plant essential oils are expected to be more advantageous than synthetic compounds because of their relatively safe status, easy decomposition, environmentally friendly and non-phytotoxic properties. This paper also presents the recent research in biological control of aflatoxin contamination.
Aflatoxin, Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus parasiticus; essential oil.
Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Nis, Bulevar Zorana Djindjica 81, 18 000 Nis, Serbia.