Degradation of aflatoxin b1 from naturally contaminated maize using the edible fungus pleurotus ostreatus

Lauren W. Jackson, Barry M. Pryor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Aflatoxins are highly carcinogenic secondary metabolites that can contaminate approximately 25% of crops and that cause or exacerbate multiple adverse health conditions, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia. Regulation and decontamination of aflatoxins in high exposure areas is lacking. Biological detoxification methods are promising because they are assumed to be cheaper and more environmentally friendly compared to chemi-cal alternatives. White-rot fungi produce non-specific enzymes that are known to degrade aflatoxin in in situ and ex situ experiments. The aims of this study were to (1) decontaminate aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) in naturally contaminated maize with the edible, white-rot fungus Pleurotus ostreatus (oyster mushroom) using a solid-state fermentation system that followed standard cultivation techniques, and to (2) and to assess the risk of mutagenicity in the resulting breakdown products and mushrooms. Vegetative growth and yield characteristics of P. ostreatus were not inhibited by the presence of AFB1. AFB1 was degraded by up to 94% by the Blue strain. No aflatoxin could be detected in P. ostreatus mushrooms produced from AFB1-contaminated maize. Moreover, the mutagenicity of breakdown products from the maize substrate, and reversion of breakdown products to the parent compound, were minimal. These results suggest that P. ostreatus significantly degrades AFB1 in naturally contaminated maize under standard cultivation techniques to levels that are acceptable for some livestock fodder, and that using P. ostreatus to bioconvert crops into mushrooms can reduce AFB1-related losses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalAMB Express
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017


  • Aflatoxin
  • Biodegradation
  • Pleurotus ostreatus
  • Solid-state fermentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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