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Open AccessArticle

Biocontrol of Aspergillus flavus in Ensiled Sorghum by Water Kefir Microorganisms

Área Microbiología, Departamento de Biociencias, Facultad de Química, Universidad de la República, Gral Flores 2124, Montevideo 11800, Uruguay
Instituto Polo Tecnológico, Facultad de Química, Universidad de la República, By Pass Ruta 8 s/n, Pando, 8 Canelones 90000, Uruguay
Cátedra de Microbiología, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Calle 47 y 115, La Plata 1900, Argentina
Appalachian Fruit Research Station, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Wiltshire Road, Kearneysville, WV 25443, USA
Agricultural Research Organization (ARO), Department of Postharvest Science, The Volcani Center, Rishon LeZion 7505101, Israel
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Microorganisms 2019, 7(8), 253;
Received: 1 July 2019 / Revised: 6 August 2019 / Accepted: 7 August 2019 / Published: 10 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-conventional Yeasts: Genomics and Biotechnology)
PDF [4630 KB, uploaded 19 August 2019]


The capacity of microorganisms from water kefir (WK) to control Aspergillus flavus growth during the aerobic phase of ensiled sorghum grains was determined. Sorghum inoculated with A. flavus was treated with filter-sterilized and non-sterilized water kefir, ensiled, and incubated 7 days at 25 °C. A. flavus growth was quantified by qPCR after incubation. Mold growth was inhibited in the presence of water kefir while no inhibition was observed when filter-sterilized water kefir was applied, demonstrating the relevant role of the microorganisms in the kefir water in the biocontrol process. Fungal and bacterial diversity in treated sorghum mini-silos was analyzed by high-throughput sequencing. Firmicutes was the predominant bacterial phyla and Lactobacillus represented the most abundant genus, while Ascomycota was the predominant fungal phyla with Saccharomyces and Pichia as the major genera. Bacterial and yeast counts before and after incubation indicated that the microbial community obtained from WK was able to grow in the sorghum mini-silos in the presence of A. flavus. Results of the present work indicate that the use of a mixed inoculum of microorganisms present in WK may represent an alternative management practice to avoid the growth of A. flavus in ensiled sorghum grains and the concomitant contamination with aflatoxins. View Full-Text
Keywords: water kefir; high moisture sorghum silage; Aspergillus flavus; high-throughput sequencing water kefir; high moisture sorghum silage; Aspergillus flavus; high-throughput sequencing

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Gonda, M.; Garmendia, G.; Rufo, C.; León Peláez, Á.; Wisniewski, M.; Droby, S.; Vero, S. Biocontrol of Aspergillus flavus in Ensiled Sorghum by Water Kefir Microorganisms. Microorganisms 2019, 7, 253.

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