Toxigenic and allergen-producing fungi represent a serious hazard to human food and animal feed safety. Ninety-four fungal species were isolated from mite-infested samples of seeds taken from Czech seed stores. Fungi were isolated from the surface of four kinds of seeds (wheat, poppy, lettuce, and mustard) and from the gut and external surface of five species of mites (i.e., Acarus siro L., 1758, Caloglyphus rhizoglyphoides (Zachvatkin, 1973), Lepidoglyphus destructor (Schrank, 1781), Tyrophagus putrescentnae (Schrank, 1781) and Cheyletus malaccensis Oudemans 1903) separately. Multivariate analysis of fungi complex composition showed that the frequency of fungal was species significantly influenced by the kind of seed. Fungal frequencies differed between mites gut and exoskeleton surface and between the surfaces of mites and seeds. Three groups of fungal species were recognized: 1) mite surface-associated fungi: Penicillium brevicompactum, Alternaria alternata, and Aspergillus versicolor; 2) mite surface- and seed-associated fungi: Aspergillus niger, Penicillium crustosum, Penicillium aurantiogriseum, Penicillium chrysogenum, and Aspergillus flavus; and 3) seed-associated fungi: Cladosporium herbarum, Mucor dimorphosporus f. dimorphosporus, Botrytis cinerea, Penicillium griseofulvum, and Eurotium repens. Mite-carried species of microfungi are known to produce serious mycotoxins (e.g., aflatoxin B1, cyclopiazonic acid, sterigmatocystin, ochratoxin A, and nephrotoxic glycopeptides) as well as allergen producers (e.g., A. alternata and P. brevicompactum). Storage mites may play an important role in the spread of some medically hazardous micromycetes. In addition, these mite–fungi associations may heighten the risk of occurrence of mycotoxins in food and feed stuffs and cause mixed contamination by fungal and mite allergens.
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Vol. 97 • No. 6