ABSTRACT

During grape cultivation and wine production, the most effective way to prevent ochratoxin A (OTA) contamination of grapes and wine is to control ochratoxigenic fungal species, especially Aspergillus carbonarius, using appropriate cultivation techniques. In this study, the influence of an organic farming system (OFS) and an integrated farming system (IFS) on the incidence of A. carbonarius on grapes, and OTA contamination of wine, were examined. Mycological analysis of grapes collected from Kotsifali cultivar (Vitis vinifera L.) vineyards and grown under two farming systems (OFS and IFS) was performed over two growing seasons. For the same two growing seasons, OTA levels of representative wine samples from wineries located in the same area, made from the same cultivar (single varietal or covinificated with Mandilari), and grown under the two farming systems were determined. The results showed that the farming system had a significant influence on the incidence of A. carbonarius, with IFS being the most effective in the control of the fungus and the prevention of OTA occurrence in wine. This knowledge could offer viticulturists a useful tool to produce safer grapes, giving winemakers an incentive to make low-OTA wine.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Different farming systems had a significant influence on A. carbonarius incidence.

  • The integrated farming system was most effective in preventing ochratoxin A in wine.

  • Ochratoxin A in wine was at low levels for both years.

  • Ochratoxin A concentration was higher in organic wine.

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