Food Safety Research Information Office
Title:Chemical Approaches to Eliminate Fungal Contamination and Mycotoxin Production in Plant Products
Objective:The overarching goal of this project is to develop methods to improve the safety of our food with regard to contamination by microbial toxins, mainly mycotoxins. In this regard, the project has a series of interconnected objectives. These objectives and their interrelationships are described as follows:

Objective 1: Develop detection methods for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) to pinpoint food contaminants. Develop methods for identifying specific, "signature," volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as telltale indicators of microbial, mycotoxin contamination or insect infestation. This VOC detection will be applied to Objective 2.

Objective 2: Develop methods for real-time detection of pathogen or insect contamination and toxins. Telltale VOCs will be used as real-time "signals" for detecting the presence of pathogens, mycotoxin-producing fungi or insects in crops or crop products, in post harvest storage or processing environments. This detectability will permit optimization of any intervention measures that are needed; which will be developed in Objective 3.

Objective 3: Develop intervention technologies using plant VOCs / natural products as tools for the control of pathogens and insects. Specifically target the genetic control mechanisms through the use of chemosensitization and formulation development.

Objective 4: Investigate the biochemical and genetic regulation of toxin production within fungal communities, with special emphasis on communication. Investigate the factors controlling aflatoxin catabolism and identification of the catabolic products.

More Info:
Approach: Identify the natural constituents responsible for resistance of certain varieties of tree nuts to growth of aflatoxigenic strains of aspergillus. Isolate and identify novel metabolites in sclerotia of Aspergillus and develop analytical methods for such compounds in order to assess exposure levels of tree nut orchards to the fungus. Identify genes involved in triggering mycotoxin biosynthesis using high-through put bioassays. Assays involve use of deletion mutants, gene knockouts and complementation analysis. Discover natural compounds that disrupt functionality of gene targets identified. Develop biosensors for detecting toxic fungi in pre- and post harvest environments. Replacing 5325-42000-035-00D (1/11).
Funding Source:United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
Start Date:2011
End Date:2016
Project Number:5325-42000-037-00
Accession Number:421017
Institutions:USDA/ARS - Pacific West Area
Investigators:Beck, John
Campbell, Bruce
Haff, Ronald
Light, Douglas
Palumbo, Jeffrey
Project Reports:2013 Annual Report
2012 Annual Report
2011 Annual Report
Published Journal
Articles USDA
ARS (NP 108):
Targeting the mitochondrial respiratory chain of Cryptococcus through antifungal chemosensitization: a model for control of non-fermentative pathogens
Kim JH, Haff RP, Faria NC, Martins Mde L, Chan KL, Campbell BC.
Molecules. 2013 Jul 25;18(8):8873-94.
Synergism of antifungal activity between mitochondrial respiration inhibitors and kojic acid
Kim JH, Campbell BC, Chan KL, Mahoney N, Haff RP.
Molecules. 2013 Jan 25;18(2):1564-81.
Headspace volatiles from 52 oak species advertise induction, species identity, and evolution, but not defense
Pearse IS, Gee WS, Beck JJ.
J Chem Ecol. 2013 Jan;39(1):90-100.
Generation of the volatile spiroketals conophthorin and chalcogran by fungal spores on polyunsaturated fatty acids common to almonds and pistachios
Beck JJ, Mahoney NE, Cook D, Gee WS.
J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Dec 5;60(48):11869-76.
Enhancement of commercial antifungal agents by kojic Acid
Kim JH, Chang PK, Chan KL, Faria NC, Mahoney N, Kim YK, Martins Mde L, Campbell BC.
Int J Mol Sci. 2012 Oct 26;13(11):13867-80.
Hull split and damaged almond volatiles attract male and female navel orangeworm moths
Beck JJ, Higbee BS, Light DM, Gee WS, Merrill GB, Hayashi JM.
J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Aug 22;60(33):8090-6.
Enhancement of antimycotic activity of amphotericin B by targeting the oxidative stress response of Candida and cryptococcus with natural dihydroxybenzaldehydes
Kim JH, Faria NC, Martins Mde L, Chan KL, Campbell BC.
Front Microbiol. 2012 Jul 19;3:261.
Electroantennographic bioassay as a screening tool for host plant volatiles
Beck JJ, Light DM, Gee WS.
J Vis Exp. 2012 May 6;6(63):e3931.
Targeting the oxidative stress response system of fungi with redox-potent chemosensitizing agents
Kim JH, Chan KL, Faria NC, Martins Mde L, Campbell BC.
Front Microbiol. 2012 Mar 16;3:88.
Chemosensitization of plant pathogenic fungi to agricultural fungicides
Dzhavakhiya V, Shcherbakova L, Semina Y, Zhemchuzhina N, Campbell B.
Front Microbiol. 2012 Mar 9;3:87.
Volatiles emissions from the flea beetle Altica litigata (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) associated with invasive Ludwigia hexapetala
Carruthers RI, Franc MK, Gee WS, Cosse AA, Grewell BJ, Beck JJ.
Chemoecology. 2011 Sep 20;21(4):253-9.
Antifungal activity of redox-active benzaldehydes that target cellular antioxidation
Kim JH, Chan KL, Mahoney N, Campbell BC.
Ann Clin Microbiol Antimicrob. 2011 May 31;10:23.
Non-journal publications:
Conophthorin from almond host plant and fungal spores and its ecological relation to navel orangeworm: a natural products chemist's perspective Reprint Icon - (Review Article)
Beck, J.J. 2013. Conophthorin from almond host plant and fungal spores and its ecological relation to navel orangeworm: a natural products chemist's perspective. Journal of the Mexican Chemical Society. 57(1):69-72.
Chemosensitization as a means to augment commercial antifungal agents - (Review Article)
Campbell, B.C., Chan, K.L., Kim, J.H. 2012. Chemosensitization as a means to augment commercial antifungal agents. Frontiers in Microbiology. 3:79.
Addressing the complexity and diversity of agricultural plant volatiles: a call for the integration of laboratory- and field-based analyses Reprint Icon - (Review Article)
Beck, J.J. 2012. Addressing the complexity and diversity of agricultural plant volatiles: a call for the integration of laboratory- and field-based analyses. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 60(5):1153-1157.
Food Safety Categories:On-Farm Food Safety
Contaminants and Contamination
Pathogen Biology
Farm-to-Table categories:On-farm food production
Food processing
Return to Search Results