Submitted to: Advances in Phytochemistry
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: January 1, 2004
Publication Date: March 1, 2004
Citation: Yu, J., Bhatnagar, D., Cleveland, T.E. 2004. Genetics and biochemistry of aflatoxin formation and genomics approach for eliminating aflatoxin contamination. In: Romeo, J.T., editor. Recent Advances in Phytochemistry: Secondary Metabolism in Model Systems. Elsevier. 38:224-242. Interpretive Summary: Aflatoxins are toxic and carcinogenic compounds produced mainly by the filamentous fungi Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus. These toxic secondary metabolites contaminate food and feed commodities when they infect corn, cotton, peanut, and tree nuts. Understanding of the genetic and biochemical mechanisms of aflatoxin formation will provide valuable information for the control or elimination of aflatoxin contamination of food and feed. This information is necessary to scientists and researchers for devising strategies to control aflatoxin contamination through genetic engineering of commercial crops.
Technical Abstract: Aflatoxins are secondary metabolites produced by certain species of filamentous fungi in the genus Aspergillus. These toxins contaminate agricultural commodities and pose a potential risk to livestock and human health. Research on the natural occurrence, identification, characterization, biosynthesis and genetic regulation of aflatoxins, as well as prevention and control of aflatoxin contamination of food and feed, have been studied in great detail. In this manuscript, the research progress of genetic and biochemistry of aflatoxin formation has been reviewed. The genomics applications that could be used in solving the aflatoxin problem and the current status of genomics of Aspergillus flavus have been also discussed.