ABSTRACT Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is a carcinogenic metabolite produced by certain Aspergillus species. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of saffron stigmas on A. parasiticus growth and AFB1 production in Yeast Extract Sucrose (YES) medium. AFB1 was extracted from cultures and purified with immunoaffinity columns followed by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled to fluorescence detector (FL) analysis. Methods' recovery and limit of detection were 95.3% and 0.02 ng AFB1·ml–1 of YES respectively. Results indicated that AFB1 production in samples of YES inoculated with A. parasiticus after the addition of saffron dried stigmas (100 mg·flask–1) was significantly lower (p < 0.05) compared to control samples (inoculated without the addition of saffron stigmas) throughout the entire incubation period (18 days), at the same time as mycelial growth was noticeable. In addition, mycelial growth was observed and AFB1 was detected, after the 7th day of observation in cultures with saffron alone. Maximum production was observed on the 12th day (0.018 μg AFB1·flask–1) and on the 9th day (0.051 μg AFB1·flask–1) for samples of YES with the addition of saffron inoculated with A. parasiticus and samples with saffron alone (non-inoculated), respectively. In control samples (inoculated without saffron) the maximum production on the same days 12 and 9 was 75.31 μg AFB1·flask–1 and 64 μg AFB1·flask–1 respectively. Conclusively when saffron was added to YES inoculated with A. parasiticus, AFB1 production decreased by 99.9% compared to control cultures without saffron addition. This inhibition can be attributed to the antioxidant capacity of saffron constituents.
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