A Survey on Contamination of Iranian Pistachio Cultivars to Aspergillus Section Flavi and Aflatoxin

Document Type: Research Article


1 Department of Plant Protection, College of Agricultural Sciences and Food Industries, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Horticultural Science Research Institute, Pistachio Research Center, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Rafsanjan, Iran



Population density of Aspergillus section Flavi in pistachio kernels of Iranian cultivars was studied in main pistachio growing areas of Iran during 2015 to 2017. In order to investigate the rate of contamination of pistachio cultivars to Aspergillus section Flavi and aflatoxins, 13 pistachio cultivars, including Akbari, Kaleh-ghouchi, Ovhadi, Ahmad-aghaee, Momtaz, Italian pistachio, Shahpasand, Pesteh-e-ghermes, Pesteh-e-garmeh, Ghazvini, Abbasali and Khanjari were selected from different parts of Semnan, Khorosan Razavi and Kerman provinces. A total of 125 samples of pistachio kernels were collected from different cultivars of pistachio trees in orchards. The samples were cultured on AFPA using serial dilution method. After 3 to 7 days, the plates were examined and isolates of Aspergillus section Flavi were identified and relative densities of them were recorded. The values  ranged from 1.6×103 to 1.6×104 CFU/g in pistachio samples.The statistical analysis showed that the population density of Aspergillus section Flavi was varied with the type of cultivars. The results indicated that among tested cultivars, Akbari showed the least and Shahpasand the most population density of Aspergillus section Flavi among pistachio cultivars, respectively. The aflatoxins content of pistachio samples were extracted and analysed through Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC) and flurodensitometer. There were Significant differences among different cultivars in the contamination of pistachio kernels to Aspergillus section Flavi and aflatoxin. (α =5%). It was observed that Akbari had the least whereas Shahpasand had the greatest amount of aflatoxin production, respectively.


Abbas HK (2005) Aflatoxin and food safety. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group.480 p.

Alipour H (2018) Photosynthesis properties and ion homeostasis of different pistachio cultivar seedlings in response to salinity stress. International Journal of Horticultural Science and Technology. 5(1), 19-29.

Amin-shahidi M (1996) The study of Aflatoxin producing Aspergili in contaminated native pistachio in Iran and examining their ability of producing toxin. MSc Thesis faculty of science. University of Tehran.

Brown RL, Cleveland TE, Payne GA, Woloshuk CP, Campbell KW, White DG (1995) Determination of resistance to aflatoxin production in maize kernels and detection of fungal colonization using an Aspergillus flavus transformant expressing Escherichia coli b-glucuronidase. Phytopathology. 85, 983–989.

Campbell BC, Molyneux RJ, Schatzki TF (2003) Current research on reducing preand postharvest aflatoxin contamination of U.S. almond, pistachio and walnut. Journal of Toxicology: Toxin Review. 22, 225–266.

Carlile MJ, Watkinson SC, Gooday GW (2001) The Fungi. London, UK: Academic Press. 386 p.

Cary JW, Rajasekaran K, Brown R, Luo M, Chen Z, Bhatnagar D (2011) Developing resistance to aflatoxin in maize and cottonseed. Toxins. 3, 678-696.

 Chen ZY, Brown RL, Damann KE, Cleveland TE, (2010) PR10 expression in maize and its effect on host resistance against Aspergillus flavus infection and aflatoxin production. Molecular Plant Pathology.11(1), 69–81.

Cole RJ, Hill RA, Blankenship PD, Sanders TH, Greem KH (1982) Influence of irrigation and drought stresses on invasion by Aspergillus flavus of

corn kernels and peanut pods. Indian Microbiology. 23, 229-236.

Denizel T, Jarvis B, Rolfe E (1976) A field survey of pistachio (Pistacia vera) nut production and storage in Turkey with particular reference to aflatoxin contamination. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 27, 1021–1026.

Dorner JW (2004) Biological control of aflatoxin contamination of crops. Journal of Toxicology: Toxin Review. 23, 425-450.

Doster MA, Michailides TJ (1994) Aspergillus molds and aflatoxins in pistachio nuts in California. Phytopathology. 84, 583–590.

Doster MA, Michailides TJ, Goldhamer DA, Morgan DP (2001) Insufficient spring irrigation increases abnormal splitting of pistachio nuts. California Agriculture. 55, 28–31.

Eslami M, Nasibi F, Manouchehri Kalantari K, Khezri M and Oloumi H (2019) Effect of exogenous application of l-arginine and sodium nitroprusside on fruit abscission and physiological disorders of pistachio (Pistacia vera L.) Scions. International Journal of Horticultural Science and Technology. 6(1), 51-62.

Esmil-Pour A,Tajabadi-Pour A (2005) Study, recognition, collection, conservation, improvement and elevation of pistachio genetics resources of Iran. Iran’s Pistachio Research Institute. Final Report. pp. 56.

Frisvad JC, Samson RA (2004) Emericella venezuelensis, a new species with stellate ascospores producing sterigmatocystin and aflatoxin B1. Systematic and Applied Microbiology. 27, 672–680.

Gradziel T, Mahoney N, Abdallah A (2000) Aflatoxin production among almond genotypes is not related to either kernel oil composition or Aspergillus flavus growth rate. HortScience. 35(5), 937-939.

Ghaemmaghami SS, Modirsaneii M, Khosravi AR, Razzaghi-Abyaneh M (2016) Study on mycoflora of poultry feed ingredients and finished feed in Iran. Iranian Journal of Microbiology. 8(1), 47-54.

Hadadinejad M, Ghasemi K and Mohammadi AA (2018) Effect of storage temperature and packaging material on shelf life of thornless blackberry. International Journal of Horticultural Science and Technology. 5(2), 265-275.

Hormoza JI, Wünsch A (2007) Pistachio. In: Kole C (ed) Genome Mapping and Molecular Breeding in Plants, Fruits and Nuts. Volume 4. New York, USA: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. pp. 243-251.

Kayimov AK, Sultanov RA, Chernova GM (2001) Pistacia in Central Asia. In: Padulosi S, Hadj-Hassan A. (eds) Project on underutilizes Mediterranean species. Pistacia: towards a comprehensive documentation of distribution and use of its genetic diversity in Central & West Asia, North Africa and Mediterranean Europe. IPGRI, Rome, Italy. 45 p.

Klich MA, Chang PK, Mullaney EJ, Bhatnagar D, Cleveland TE, (1995) Hybridization of genes involved in aflatoxin biosynthesis to DNA of aflatoxigenic and non-aflatoxigenic aspergilli. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 44, 439-443.

Klich MA (2002) Identification of Common Aspergillus Species. Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Magnoli C, Dalcero AM, Miazzo R, Saenz MA (998) Enumeration and identification of Aspergillus group and Penecillium species in poultry feeds from Argentina. Mycopathologia. 142, 27-32.

Mahbobinejhad Z, Aminian H, Ebrahimi L, Vahdati K (2019) Reduction of aflatoxin production by exposing Aspergillus flavus to CO2. 8 (4), 441-448.

Moghaddam MM, Goltapeh EM, Hokmabadi H, Haghdel M, Mortazavi AM (2006) Evaluation of susceptibility of pistachio cultivars to aflatoxigenic Aspergillus flavus and aflatoxin B1 production. Acta Horticulturae (ISHS). 726, 655-658.

Mojtahedi H, Rabie CJ, Lubben AMS, Danesh D (1979) Toxic aspergilli from pistachio nuts. Mycopahtologia. 31, 123–127.

Moradi M, Hokmabadi H (2011) The Control of Mycotoxigenic Fungi in Nuts: Farm to Fork. Pp: 291-358, in: Ö. Tokusoglu & C. Hall III. (Eds): “Fruit and Cereal Bioactives: Sources, Chemistry & Applications”. CRC Press.

Pitt JI, Hocking AD (1985) Fungi and food spoilage. Academic Press, Inc., New York.

Sharifkhah M, Bakhshi D, Pourghayoumi M, Abdi S, Hokmabadi H (2020) Effect of Pollination Time on Yield and Antioxidant Properties of Some Pistachio Cultivars. International Journal of Horticultural Science and Technology. 7(1), 51-58.

Sheibani A (1995) Pistachio production in Iran. Acta Hoticulturae. 419, 192-198.

Sherafati A (2005) Study, recognition, collection, conservation, improvement and elevation of pistachio genetics resources of Khorasan Province. Iran’s Pistachio Research Institute, Final Report. pp.25.

Tabata S, Kamimura H, Ibe A, Hashimoto H, Lida M, Tamura Y, Nishima T (1993) Aflatoxin conatamination in food and foodstuff in Tokyo: 1986-1990. Journal of AOAC International. 76(1), 32-35.

Thomson SV, Mehdy MC (1978) Occurrence of Aspergillus flavus in pistachio nuts prior to harvest. Phytopathology. 68(8), 1112-1114.

Van Egmond HP, Ronald CS, Marco AJ, (2007) Regulations relating to mycotoxins in food. Perspectives in a global and European context. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. 389, 147-157.

Williams JH, Phillips TD, Jolly PE, Stiles JK, Jolly CM, Aggarwal D (2004) Human aflatoxicosis in developing countries: a review of toxicology, exposure, potential health conse-quences, and interventions. The American Journal Clinical Nutrition. 80, 1106-1122.

Yin YN, Yan LY, Jiang JH, Ma ZH (2008) Biological control of aflatoxin contamination of crops. Journal of Zhejiang University Science Biomedicine & Biotechnology. 9(10),787-792.

Zohary M (1952) A monographic study of genus Pistacia. Palistin Journal of Botany. 5, 187-228.