No information is available in the literature about the influence of temperature (T) on Penicillium and Aspergillus spp. growth and mycotoxin production on cheese rinds. The aim of this work was to: (i) study fungal ecology on cheese in terms of T requirements, focusing on the partitioning of mycotoxins between the rind and mycelium; and (ii) validate predictive models previously developed by in vitro trials. Grana cheese rind blocks were inoculated with A. versicolor, P. crustosum, P. nordicum, P. roqueforti, and P. verrucosum, incubated at different T regimes (10–30◦C, step 5◦C) and after 14 days the production of mycotoxins (ochratoxin A (OTA); sterigmatocystin (STC); roquefortine C (ROQ-C), mycophenolic acid (MPA), Pr toxin (PR-Tox), citrinin (CIT), cyclopiazonic acid (CPA)) was quantified. All the fungi grew optimally around 15–25◦C and produced the expected mycotoxins (except MPA, Pr-Tox, and CIT). The majority of the mycotoxins produced remained in the mycelium (~90%) in three out of five fungal species (P. crustosum, P. nordicum, and P. roqueforti); the opposite occurred for A. versicolor and P. verrucosum with 71% and 58% of STC and OTA detected in cheese rind, respectively. Available predictive models fitted fungal growth on the cheese rind well, but validation was not possible for mycotoxins because they were produced in a very narrow T range.
- Aspergillus versicolor
- Ochratoxin A