Background. In the Po Valley aflatoxins play a relevant role: the local food economy is heavily based on cereal cultivations for animal feed and human nutrition. Aims of this project are the identification of new compounds that inhibit Aspergillus proliferation, the development of new inhibitors of aflatoxins production, and the set-up a practical screening procedure to identify the most effective and safe compounds. Design and Methods. New compounds will be synthetized with natural origin molecules as ligands and endogenous metal ions to increase their bioavailability for the fungi as metal complexes. A biotechnological high-throughput screening will be set up to identify efficiently the most powerful substances. The newly synthesized compounds with effective antifungal activities, will be evaluated with battery of tests with different end-points to assess the toxic potential risk for environmental and human health. Expected impact of the study for public health. The fundamental step in the project will be the synthesis of new compounds and the study of their capability to inhibit aflatoxin biosynthesis. A new, simple, inexpensive and high-throughput method to screen the anti-fungine and anti-mycotoxin activity of the new synthesised compounds will be applied. The evaluation of possible risks for humans due to toxic and genotoxic activities of the molecules will be made with a new approach using different types of cells (bacteria, plants and human cells).
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