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

Palumbo, Jeffrey
USDA - Agricultural Research Service
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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.
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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.
Funding Source
Agricultural Research Service
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Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication
Natural Toxins
Viruses and Prions
Bacterial Pathogens
Chemical Contaminants
Nuts, Seeds