Molecular probing of Aflatoxigenic fungi in rice grains collected from local markets of Lahore, Pakistan

Sohaib Afzaal, Shinawar Waseem Ali, Usman Hameed, Aftab Ahmad, Muhammad Akhlaq, Muhammad Arshad Javed, Muhammad Saleem Haider


Background: Aflatoxigenic Aspergillus strains have emerged as a serious threat to food safety and quality assurance. The objective of this study was to identify the aflatoxigenic Aspergillus sp. by targeting the amplification of aflatoxigenic genes i.e., aflR, nor1, omt1, ver1, in different fugal strains isolated from the rice grains being marketed in local markets of Lahore city, Pakistan.

Methods: Total eleven (11) Aspergillus strains were isolated from rice grains and aflatoxigenic genes i.e., aflR, nor1, omt1, ver1 were amplified to differentiate between aflatoxin producing and non-producing strains.

Results: Four (04) out of total eleven (11) strains showed the presence of aflatoxins producing genes, indicating the possible contamination of aflatoxins in rice grains being sold in local markets of Lahore.

Conclusion: This research provides the basis for the quantification of aflatoxins; a significant threat to the quality of foodstuffs and consumers. The situation demands the attention of rice growers, processors as well as government officials to tackle the problem to assure the safety of rice eaters.

Keywords: Aflatoxins; Aspergillus; Cereal grains; Contamination; Mycotoxigenic 

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