The aim of this study was to investigate in vitro and model the effect of temperature (T) and water activity (aw) conditions on growth and toxin production by some toxigenic fungi signaled in cheese. Aspergillus versicolor, Penicillium camemberti, P. citrinum, P. crustosum, P. nalgiovense, P. nordicum, P. roqueforti, P. verrucosum were considered they were grown under different T (0–40 °C) and aw (0.78–0.99) regimes. The highest relative growth occurred around 25 °C; all the fungi were very susceptible to aw and 0.99 was optimal for almost all species (except for A. versicolor, aw opt = 0.96). The highest toxin production occurred between 15 and 25 °C and 0.96–0.99 aw. Therefore, during grana cheese ripening, managed between 15 and 22 °C, ochratoxin A (OTA), penitrem A (PA), roquefortine-C (ROQ-C) and mycophenolic acid (MPA) are apparently at the highest production risk. Bete and logistic function described fungal growth under different T and aw regimes well, respectively. Bete function described also STC, PA, ROQ-C and OTA production as well as function of T. These models would be very useful as starting point to develop a mechanistic model to predict fungal growth and toxin production during cheese ripening and to help advising the most proper setting of environmental factors to minimize the contamination risk.
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis