ABSTRACT: Pistachio fruit components, including hulls (mesocarps and epicarps), seed coats (testas), and kernels (seeds), all contribute to variable aflatoxin content in pistachios. Fresh pistachio kernels were individually inoculated with Aspergillus flavus and incubated 7 or 10 days. Hulled, shelled kernels were either left intact or wounded prior to inoculation. Wounded kernels, with or without the seed coat, were readily colonized by A. flavus and after 10 days of incubation contained 37 times more aflatoxin than similarly treated unwounded kernels. The aflatoxin levels in the individual wounded pistachios were highly variable. Neither fungal colonization nor aflatoxin was detected in intact kernels without seed coats. Intact kernels with seed coats had limited fungal colonization and low aflatoxin concentrations compared with their wounded counterparts. Despite substantial fungal colonization of wounded hulls, aflatoxin was not detected in hulls. Aflatoxin levels were significantly lower in wounded kernels with hulls than in kernels of hulled pistachios. Both the seed coat and a water-soluble extract of hulls suppressed aflatoxin production by A. flavus.
Aflatoxin Variability in Pistachios, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Apr. 1996, p. 1197–1202
Western Regional Research Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Albany, California Department of Biological and Physical Sciences, Indiana University, Kokomo, Indiana