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Molecular characterization of aflatoxigenic and non-aflatoxigenic Aspergillus flavus isolates collected from corn grains

Author(s): M.A. Mahmoud1, H.M. Ali2, A.R.M. El-Aziz2, M.R. Al-Othman2 and A.S. Al-Wadai2

Twelve species from six fungal genera were found to be associated with corn (Zea mays L.) grain samples collected from three main regions of Saudi Arabia. The average frequencies of the most common genera were Aspergillus (11.4%), Fusarium (9.5%), Penicillium (5.1%), and Alternaria (5.8%). Fifteen isolates of Aspergillus flavus were screened by HPLC for their ability to produce aflatoxins (AF). The percentage of aflatoxigenic A. flavus isolates was 53%. Eight isolates produced AF, at concentrations ranging 0.7-2.9 ppb. Random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) molecular markers were used to genetically characterize isolates of A. flavus and to discriminate between the aflatoxigenic and non-aflatoxigenic isolates. RAPD and ISSR analysis revealed a high level of genetic diversity in the A. flavus population, which was useful for genetic characterization.