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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Risk Assessment and Intervention Strategies for the Emerging Food Safety Threat of Ochratoxin in the United States

Location: Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention

Project Number: 2030-42000-038-10
Project Type: Reimbursable

Start Date: Dec 15, 2012
End Date: Feb 29, 2016

Objective:
1. Survey samples of tree nuts, dried fruits, and spices from retail and other markets for ochratoxin contamination. 2. Isolate and identify ochratoxin-producing fungi from contaminated samples.

Approach:
Samples will be purchased from sources across the U.S. and transported to WRRC. Tree nuts will be ground using a food processor; dried fruits will be ground using a meat grinder (or similar machine). Ground nuts, ground fruits, and dried spices will be extracted with methanol and subjected to immunoaffinity chromatography to concentrate any ochratoxin from the samples. Ochratoxin in purified extracts will be quantified using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Samples with high levels of ochratoxin will be used to isolate fungi, using standard microbiological methods. Production of ochratoxin by individual fungi will be assessed using HPLC of methanol extracts of fungal material. Genus and species identification of ochratoxin-producing fungi will be determined by DNA sequence analyses of calmodulin and beta-tubulin gene sequences, as well as large-subunit ribosomal RNA gene sequence analysis.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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