Two media [basal (M1) and enriched (M2)] containing potassium sorbate (0–300 ppm as sorbic acid) were inoculated with spores (104 – 106/flask) of Aspergillus parasiticus and incubated for 5 days at 28 C. The greater the amount of sorbate added, the higher was the pH of the media after incubation and the smaller was the yield of mold mycelium. Intermediate amounts of sorbate sometimes resulted in greater accumulation of aflatoxin than when media were free of sorbate. Sorbate more effectively inhibited mold growth and aflatoxin production in medium M2 than M1 and when the small rather than the large inoculum was used. A second trial was done with 106 or 105 spores/flask of M2 (ca. 27 ml) and 105 spores/flask of M2 (ca. 27 ml) containing sorbate (200 ppm of sorbic acid). Cumulative data for mold growth. pH and content of aflatoxin in the medium showed that relative effects of different treatments changed during the incubation period. An index to measure the capacity of molds to synthesize aflatoxins was developed. Application of the index indicates that sorbate delayed mold growth but did not inhibit biosynthesis of aflatoxin. The ability to synthesize aflatoxin was greatest in the early stages of mold growth and then decreased linearly as mold growth progressed.

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