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Toxins 2010, 2(4), 461-493; doi:10.3390/toxins2040461

Ochratoxin A: General Overview and Actual Molecular Status

1
Centre d’analyses et de recherches, Faculté des Sciences, Université Saint-Joseph, Beyrouth, Lebanon
2
Lebanese Atomic Energy Commission-CNRS, P.O. Box 11-8281, Riad El Solh, 1107 2260 Beirut, Lebanon
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 January 2010 / Revised: 5 March 2010 / Accepted: 8 March 2010 / Published: 29 March 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ochratoxins)
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Abstract

Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a mycotoxin produced by several species of Aspergillus and Penicillium fungi that structurally consists of a para-chlorophenolic group containing a dihydroisocoumarin moiety that is amide-linked to L-phenylalanine. OTA is detected worldwide in various food and feed sources. Studies show that this molecule can have several toxicological effects such as nephrotoxic, hepatotoxic, neurotoxic, teratogenic and immunotoxic. A role in the etiology of Balkan endemic nephropathy and its association to urinary tract tumors has been also proved. In this review, we will explore the general aspect of OTA: physico-chemical properties, toxicological profile, OTA producing fungi, contaminated food, regulation, legislation and analytical methods. Due to lack of sufficient information related to the molecular background, this paper will discuss in detail the recent advances in molecular biology of OTA biosynthesis, based on information and on new data about identification and characterization of ochratoxin biosynthetic genes in both Penicillium and Aspergillus species. This review will also cover the development of the molecular methods for the detection and quantification of OTA producing fungi in various foodstuffs.
Keywords: Ochratoxin A; toxicity; polyketide synthase gene; molecular biology; biosynthesis; detection; quantification Ochratoxin A; toxicity; polyketide synthase gene; molecular biology; biosynthesis; detection; quantification
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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El Khoury, A.; Atoui, A. Ochratoxin A: General Overview and Actual Molecular Status. Toxins 2010, 2, 461-493.

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