Mycotoxigenic fungus or not? Let’s have a look at the genome!

Activity: Talk or presentationAcademic


The production of mycotoxins is major food safety threat which requires to carefully monitor their presence in food and feed. This issue is becoming even more important in the biotechnology era as more and more fungal-derived products are being produced, from biocontrol agents to mycoproteins and fungal leather. Like any other fungal secondary metabolites, mycotoxin production is tightly regulated and induced under specific conditions that are often not known. Thus, using analytical chemistry methods to detect the production of mycotoxins is only providing information about the tested condition. For applications like biocontrol and feed, this traditional approach does not fully guarantee that the fungus of interest will not produce mycotoxins. A more reliable approach to guarantee the safety of a fungal product relies in genome analyses. Indeed, the biosynthetic pathways of monitored mycotoxins like aflatoxin and fumonisin, and of even emerging mycotoxins like sporidesmin, are known. Combining genome sequencing and phylogenetic dereplication is a strategy that provides a clear answer about the capacity of a fungus to produce known mycotoxins or not. This approach is also useful to monitor the production potential in field isolates as mycotoxigenic ones may not produce mycotoxins under laboratory conditions. I will provide examples of both applications. Although this approach does not give information about uncharacterized biosynthetic pathways, it accurately certificates on the safety of a fungal strain regarding known mycotoxins.
Period10 Oct 2023