Aims: To develop a simple, high-throughput and inexpensive procedure to detect and quantify aflatoxins into the culture media of growing mycelia. Methods and Results: Fungal conidia (Aspergillus flavus) were inoculated into the wells of a microplate containing 200mul of different formulations of coconut-derived liquid medium. Time-dependent production of aflatoxins in the culture media was evaluated by a procedure relying on the UV-induced fluorescence emission by the toxin, using a microplate reader. These data were validated by comparison with the outputs of a conventional HPLC-based procedure. Determinations of aflatoxin concentration, according to the fluorimetric procedure, were performed either by withdrawing samples from the plates or by direct 'in situ' readings, the latter method reinforcing the high-throughput feature of the procedure. Fluorescence enhancers (cyclodextrins) did not ameliorate the sensitivity of the procedure to low concentrations of the toxin into the medium. The efficacy of the procedure was also validated by testing the effect on toxin yield of adding an antioxidant agent (alpha-lipoic acid) to the medium. Conclusions: We give evidence that our improved procedure is reliable and suitable to analyse aflatoxin accumulation time course in coconut-derived culture medium. Significance and Impact of the Study: This study shows that our procedure may profitably be used to give insights into the mechanisms of regulation of mycotoxin production and, consequently, to implement different strategies for the containment of aflatoxin contamination of food and feed commodities.
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