Volatiles of antagonistic soil yeasts inhibit growth and aflatoxin production of Aspergillus flavus

Subramani Natarajan, Dananjeyan Balachandar, Natesan Senthil, Rethinasamy Velazhahan, Vaikuntavasan Paranidharan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Minimizing Aspergillus flavus growth is an effective strategy to mitigate aflatoxin contamination in food and agricultural products. In the present investigation, we attempted to utilize soil-associated yeasts from the Western and Eastern Ghats of India against A. flavus to reduce aflatoxin contamination. Forty-five yeast isolates were screened against A. flavus using overlay and dual plate assays. Among them, 12 isolates effectively inhibited the growth of A. flavus. The 18S rDNA gene sequence analysis identified the twelve antagonistic isolates as belonging to Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Suhomyces xylopsoci, Pichia kudriavzevii, and Candida tropicalis. From the isolated yeasts, S. cerevisiae strains were selected for further evaluation based on the potential antagonistic activity. Volatiles of S. cerevisiae effectively suppressed the mycelial growth of A. flavus (P < 0.05) up to 92.1 % at 7 DAI. Scanning electron microscopic images of the fungus exposed to volatiles showed hyphal deformity and mycelial damage. Aflatoxin B 1 (AFB 1) production was drastically reduced up to 99.0 % in the volatile-exposed fungus compared to the control. The yeast strain YKK1 showed consistent Aspergillus flavus growth inhibition (80.7 %) and AFB 1 production (98.1 %) for 14 days. Gas chromatography-mass spectrophotometry analysis of the yeast volatiles revealed the presence of antimicrobial compounds, including 1-pentanol, 1-propanol, ethyl hexanol, ethanol, 2-methyl-1-butanol, ethyl acetate, dimethyl trisulfide, p-xylene, styrene, and 1,4-pentadiene. The evaluated compounds of yeast volatiles, including ethyl acetate, hexanal, 1-propanol, 1-heptanol, 1-butanol, and benzothiazole, inhibited the fungal growth and AFB 1 production of Aspergillus flavus when applied as pure chemicals. Benzothiazole at 5 mM was responsible for a high level of growth inhibition (23.6 %) and reduction of AFB 1 synthesis (93.5 %). Hence, volatile compounds produced by soil yeast strains could be a potential biocontrol mechanism against aflatoxin contamination.

Original languageEnglish
Article number127150
JournalMicrobiological Research
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2022


  • 1-heptanol
  • 1-propanol
  • Aflatoxin inhibition
  • Aspergillus flavus
  • Benzothiazole
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • VOCs
  • Aflatoxin B1/genetics
  • 1-Propanol/pharmacology
  • Benzothiazoles/pharmacology
  • Aflatoxins/pharmacology
  • Soil
  • 1-Butanol/pharmacology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology


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