Journal article Open Access

Bioremediation of aflatoxin B1-contaminated maize by king oyster mushroom (Pleurotus eryngii)

Maria Teresa Branà, Maria Teresa Cimmarusti, Miriam Haidukowski, Antonio Francesco Logrieco , Claudio Altomare

Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is the most harmful mycotoxin that occurs as natural contaminant of agricultural commodities, particularly maize. Practical solutions for detoxification of contaminated staples and reduction of agricultural wastes are scarce. We investigated the capability of the white-rot and edible fungus Plerotus eryngii (king oyster mushroom) to degrade AFB1 both in vitro and in a laboratory-scale mushroom cultivation, using a substrate similar to that routinely used in mushroom farms. In malt extract broth, degradation of AFB1 (500 ng/mL) by nine isolates of P. eryngii ranged from 81 to 99% after 10 days growth, and reached 100% for all isolates after 30 days. The growth of P. eryngii on solid medium (malt extract-agar, MEA) was significantly reduced at concentrations of AFB1 500 ng/mL or higher. However, the addition of 5% wheat straw to the culture medium increased the tolerance of P. eryngii to AFB1 and no inhibition was observed at a AFB1 content of 500 ng/mL; degradation of AFB1 in MEA supplemented with 5% wheat straw and 2.5% (w/v) maize flour was 71–94% after 30 days of growth. Further, AFB1 degradation by P. eryngii strain ITEM 13681 was tested in a laboratory-scale mushroom cultivation. The mushroom growth medium contained 25% (w/w) of maize spiked with AFB1 to the final content of 128 μg/kg. Pleurotus eryngii degraded up to 86% of the AFB1 in 28 days, with no significant reduction of either biological efficiency or mushroom yield. Neither the biomass produced on the mushroom substrate nor the mature basidiocarps contained detectable levels of AFB1 or its metabolite aflatoxicol, thus ruling out the translocation of these toxins through the fungal thallus. These findings make a contribution towards the development of a novel technology for remediation of AFB1- contaminated corn through the exploitation of the degradative capability of P. eryngii and its bioconversion into high nutritional value material intended for feed production.

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