Effects of carbon, nitrogen and ambient pH on patulin production and related gene expression in Penicillium expansum.International Journal of Food Microbiology, 2015, 206: 102–108

Yuanyuan Zong , Boqiang Li , Shiping Tian*


Patulin, a potent mycotoxin which can cause serious health concerns, is mainly produced in foods by Penicillium expansum. Environmental factors play important roles in regulating biosynthesis of mycotoxins; however, information about the effects of environmental factors on patulin production and the involved mechanisms in P. expansum is limited. Here, we investigated the effects of different carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) sources, and ambient pH on patulin production in three P. expansum strains T01, M1 and Pe21, and the expression profile of 15 genes involved in patulin biosynthetic pathway. It was found that C and N sources and pH had great influence on patulin production in P. expansum. In general, patulin production of all three P. expansum strains showed similar trends under different C and N sources and pH conditions, though there were some differences in the optimal conditions among these strains. Glucose-containing sugars, complex N sources, and acidic conditions were favorable conditions for patulin production. The results of RT-qPCR showed that the relative expressions of most of the patulin genes were up-regulated under patulin-permissive conditions, indicating that patulin biosynthesis was mainly regulated at transcriptional level by these environmental factors. These findings will provide useful information to better understand the regulation mechanisms of patulin biosynthesis, and be helpful in developing effective means for controlling patulin contamination.