Monitoring MVOC Profiles over Time from Isolates of Aspergillus flavus Using SPME GC-MS


Fungi produce a variety of microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) during primary and secondary metabolism. The fungus, Aspergillus flavus, is a human, animal and plant pathogen which produces aflatoxin, one of the most carcinogenic substances known. In this study, MVOCs were analyzed using solid phase microextraction (SPME) combined with GCMS from two genetically different A. flavus strains, an aflatoxigenic strain, NRRL 3357, and a non-aflatoxigenic strain, NRRL 21882. A PDMS/CAR SPME fiber was used over 30 days to observe variations in MVOCs over time. The relative percentage of individual chemicals in several chemical classes (alcohols, aldehydes, esters, furans, hydrocarbons, ketones, and organic acids) was shown to change considerably during the varied fungal growth stages. This changing chemical profile reduces the likelihood of finding a single chemical that can be used consistently as a biomarker for fungal strain identification. In our study, discriminant analysis techniques were successfully conducted using all identified and quantified MVOCs enabling discrimination of the two A. flavus strains over the entire 30-day period. This study underscores the potential of using SPME GCMS coupled with multivariate analysis for fungi strain identification.

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Sun, D. , Wood-Jones, A. , Wang, W. , Vanlangenberg, C. , Jones, D. , Gower, J. , Simmons, P. , Baird, R. and Mlsna, T. (2014) Monitoring MVOC Profiles over Time from Isolates of Aspergillus flavus Using SPME GC-MS. Journal of Agricultural Chemistry and Environment, 3, 48-63. doi: 10.4236/jacen.2014.32007.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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