Ecophysiology of OTA-producing fungi and its relevance in cured meat products

Andrieli Stefanello, Alessandra M. Gasperini, Marina V. Copetti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The ripening process of fermented/dry cured foods is considered a favourable stage for the development of filamentous fungi on the product's surface. In general, some species are beneficial, as they contribute to the aroma and flavour characteristics, while some species such as Aspergillus westerdijkiae, Penicillium brevicompactum, Penicillium griseofulvum, Penicillium nordicum, and Penicillium verrucosum can produce mycotoxins. The most common mycotoxin in such kind of meat product is the ochratoxin A (OTA) which is a toxic secondary metabolite classified as possible carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B by the International Agency for Research on Cancer). This brief review will approach the microbiota found in different cured meat products, and some studies demonstrating the main species able to produce OTA. Studies assessing intrinsic and extrinsic conditions that affect fungal ecophysiology and factors that can lead to reduction or increase in OTA production in cured meat products are also described.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100838
JournalCurrent Opinion in Food Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


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