Sterigmatocystin is amongst the ultimate precursor of aflatoxin in aflatoxin-producing fungi. These carcinogenic and mutagenic compounds may cause teratogenicity and immunosuppression. Human and animals are susceptible to lead aflatoxin poisoning when their food source is contaminated by Aspergillus. This study aims to investigate the effect of aflatoxin genes aflD, aflO and aflJon sterigmatocystin, the ultimate precursor of aflatoxin, in cattle feed. To conduct the study, 121 samples of cattle feed were collected from 21 industrial animal husbandary in Tehran and Alborz provinces, and then were isolated and cultured based on macroscopic and microscopic methods. Moreover, PCR technique was also used to undertake a molecular investigation into the isolated Aspergillus. To identify the relationship between aflatoxin genes with sterigmatocystin, 20 samples of cattle feed, containing one, two or three positive aflatoxin genes were randomly selected, examined under the ultraviolet light and finally, evaluated using thin-layered chromatography. The results indicate that 55.37% of 121 samples of the cattle feeds contaminated by Aspergillus fungi. Among these isolated samples, 37.31% has aflD, 90.01% has aflO and 34.32% has aflJ and the findings of TLC also suggest that only 2 out of 20 cattle feeds show high sterigmatocystin content while others are less infected. These two samples were positive for all three aflatoxin genes, and a direct association was also found between aflatoxin genes aflO, aflJ and aflD and sterigmatocystin. Controlling cattle feeds contaminated by Aspergillus Fungi can secure them against sterigmatocystin and aflatoxin contamination and prevent them from entering the human and animal health cycle.
Keywords: Aflatoxin, Sterigmatocystin, Aspergillus, PCR, TLC, Cattle feed
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