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In this study, the effects of temperature and relative humidity (RH) on ochratoxin A (OTA) formation during liquorice root storage were investigated. For this purpose, a real storage procedure in which fresh root was dried in the open air was simulated. Four RH-temperature combinations corresponding to average climate conditions (RH-temperature) of each season in an important liquorice growing and processing region were simulated as follows: A, autumn (T = 15°C, RH = 49%); B, winter (T = 9°C, RH = 51%); C, spring (T = 22°C, RH = 35%); and D, summer (T = 29°C, RH = 27%). The crushed fresh roots were incubated for 60 days, and the OTA content of the roots was determined at 20-day intervals by using inverse ion mobility spectrometry. The results showed that the maximum levels of OTA occurred after 40 days and were 4.3 ± 1.1, 0.9 ± 0.2, 7.3 ± 0.0 and 24.2 ± 2.5 ngg(-1) in roots stored under simulated conditions A, B, C and D, respectively. After 40 days, the amount of OTA started to decline in all samples but at different rates. The results seem to indicate that temperature plays a more significant role than RH in producing OTA by moulds in liquorice root. It appears that 22°C could be considered as the critical temperature for OTA formation in liquorice root stored under experimental conditions. It could be concluded that liquorice-processing plants should obtain, dry and store fresh moist root when the temperature is below the critical point. Moreover, the roots stored in the open shade condition should not be covered by plastic films even when it is raining as this increases the root temperature.


Mohammadreza Khalesi, Mahmoud Tabrizchi, Mahmoud Sheikh-Zeinoddin. The effects of temperature and relative humidity on ochratoxin A formation in fresh liquorice root. Food additives & contaminants. Part A, Chemistry, analysis, control, exposure & risk assessment. 2013;30(2):339-44

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PMID: 23116224

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