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Last update: May 2021

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UR 1264 - MYCSA : Mycologie et securite des aliments


Mycologie & Sécurité des Aliments
INRA Bordeaux-Aquitaine
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33883 Villenave d'Ornon Cedex

Our new article :

by Francis Fleurat-Lessard

16 January 2017

'Integrated management of the risks of stored grain spoilage by seedborne fungi and contamination by storage mould mycotoxins - An update.' Publiched in Journal of Stored Products Research

Fleurat-Lessard F. (2017). Integrated management of the risks of stored grain spoilage by seedborne fungi and contamination by storage mould mycotoxins - An update. Journal of Stored Products Research71: 22-40.


Fungal spoilage of stored grains may occur when activity of water (aw) in cereal grain exceeds a critical
limit enabling mould growth. Because it is not feasible to maintain all parts of large grain bulks below
this critical moisture limit during prolonged storage time, an infection by seed-borne fungi is not rare in
cereal grain stored under humid temperate or hot climates, inducing irreversible qualitative losses.
Additionally, some fungal species produce harmful mycotoxins. The most harmful toxigenic species
belong to the group of xerophilic species (genera Aspergillus and Penicillium). Because mycotoxin
contamination of cereal grain is a worldwide issue for public health and a permanent concern for cerealfood industries facing the challenge of a permanent monitoring mycotoxin content in their primary
matters, tolerable levels of mycotoxins are severely regulated worldwide. Mycotoxin-producing species
growth is closely dependent of grain moisture levels enabling biological activity in grain ecosystem.
Consequently, mould growth in stored grain bulks can be anticipated through early detection of grain
and mould respiration. The prevention of mycotoxigenic fungi spoilage of stored grain can be managed
by a preventive strategy. The main objective of the review was to describe the different methods, material and practices combined in such an integrated preventive approach. Some solutions potentially
acceptable for the decontamination of moderately contaminated grain are also discussed.
Integrated management of mould spoilage risks in stored grain is based on five pillars: i/Prevention of
mould development by keeping grain moisture below the critical limit of fungal growth; ii/Accurate
monitoring of grain aw and temperature changes during the storage period, associated to the monitoring of early indicators of respiration activity of storage fungi; iii/Reduction of grain bulk moistening trends by physical intervention means; iv/Use of physical treatments (ozone, grain peeling or abrasion) to limit
mycotoxin contamination transfer to processed cereal products; v/Possible use of bio-competitive strains of fungi or bacteria to prevent the development of mycotoxigenic fungi in grain bulks. The future
research needs on this topic are also evocated.