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Accidental Discovery Could Change Mycotoxin Game

AAFC scientists discovered an enzyme that converts fumonisin mycotoxins into a non-toxic form


An enzyme that makes some mycotoxins less deadly has been discovered by a team of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientists at the London Research and Development Centre in London, ON, reports Farmtario.

Dr. Mark Sumarah, a mycotoxin and fungal expert at the London Research and Development Centre and his colleague Dr. Justin Renaud were originally seeking to learn more about a mycotoxin known as orchotoxin A and the potential risk of it to contaminate Canadian grapes.

The researchers were looking at the fungus Aspergillus to search for orchotoxin A, and found that Aspergillus produced not only orchotoxin A, but another type of mycotoxin known as fumonisin. What was a surprise is that the fungus produced strains of fumonisin that no one had seen before.

What was interesting, says Sumarah, is that although every previously known fumonisin contains a nitrogen molecule, these new ones did not.

The team then successfully isolated the enzyme responsible for converting some fumonisins into types that lack nitrogen, and began collaborating with Lallemand Inc. through a Canadian Agricultural Partnership project to commercially develop the enzyme for the detoxification of fumonisins.

Read the full report here.

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