Buckwheat achenes antioxidant profile modulates Aspergillus flavus growth and aflatoxin production

G. Chitarrini, C. Nobili, F. Pinzari, A. Antonini, P. De Rossi, A. Del Fiore, S. Procacci, V. Tolaini, V. Scala, M. Scarpari, M. Reverberi

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Buckwheat (Fagopyrum spp.) is a "pseudo-cereal" of great interest in the production of healthy foods since its flour, derived from achenes, is enriched with bioactive compounds and, due to the absence of gluten, may be used in composition of celiac diets. Amongst buckwheat species, F. tataricum achenes possess a larger amount of the antioxidant flavenol rutin than the common buckwheat F. esculentum. Ongoing climate change may favor plant susceptibility to the attack by pathogenic, often mycotoxigenic, fungi with consequent increase of mycotoxins in previously unexploited feeds and foodstuffs. In particular, Aspergillus flavus, under suitable environmental conditions such as those currently occurring in Italy, may produce aflatoxin B1(AFB1), the most carcinogenic compound of fungal origin which is classified by IARC as Category 1. In this study, the viable achenes of two buckwheat species, F. tataricum (var. Golden) and F. esculentum (var. Aelita) were inoculated with an AFB1-producing A. flavus NRRL 3357 to analyze their relative performances against fungal invasion and toxin contamination. Notably, we sought the existence of a correlation between the amount of tocols/flavonols in the achenes of buckwheat, infected and non-infected with A. flavus, and to analyze the ability of the pathogen to grow and produce toxin during achene infection. Results suggest that achenes of F. tataricum, the best producer of antioxidant compounds in this study, are less susceptible to A. flavus infection and consequently, but not proportionally, to mycotoxin contamination compared with F. esculentum. Moreover, rutin-derived quercetin appears to be more efficient in inhibiting aflatoxin biosynthesis than the parent compound. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 10
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Microbiology

Cite this

Chitarrini, G., Nobili, C., Pinzari, F., Antonini, A., De Rossi, P., Del Fiore, A., Procacci, S., Tolaini, V., Scala, V., Scarpari, M., & Reverberi, M. (2014). Buckwheat achenes antioxidant profile modulates Aspergillus flavus growth and aflatoxin production. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 189, 1 - 10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2014.07.029