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A proteomic investigation of Aspergillus carbonarius exposed to yeast volatilome or to its major component 2-phenylethanol reveals major shifts in fungal metabolism

journal contribution
submitted on 2024-06-27, 12:03 and posted on 2024-06-27, 12:04 authored by Bruno Tilocca, Virgilio Balmas, Zahoor Ul Hassan, Samir Jaoua, Quirico Migheli

The use of yeast-derived volatile organic compounds (VOCs) represents a promising strategy for the biological control of various plant pathogens, including mycotoxin-producing fungi. Previous studies demonstrated the efficacy of the low-fermenting yeast Candida intermedia isolate 253 in reducing growth, sporulation, and ochratoxin A biosynthesis by Aspergillus carbonarius MPVA566. This study aimed to investigate whether the inhibitory effect of the yeast volatilome is solely attributable to 2-phenylethanol, its major component, or if a synergistic effect of all volatilome components is required to achieve an effective control of the fungal growth and metabolism. Microbiological methods, HPLC measurements and a UPLC-MS/MS approach were used to investigate the metabolic profile of A. carbonarius MPVA566 at different growing conditions: standard incubation (control), exposed to C. intermedia 253 volatilome, and incubation in the presence of 2-phenylethanol. Both yeast volatilome and 2-phenylethanol succeeded in the macroscopic inhibition of the radial mycelial growth, along with a significant reduction of ochratoxin A production. Functional classification of the fungal proteome identified in the diverse growing conditions revealed a different impact of both yeast VOCs and 2-phenylethanol exposure on the fungal proteome. Yeast VOCs target an array of metabolic routes of fungal system biology, including a marked reduction in protein biosynthesis, proliferative activity, mitochondrial metabolism, and particularly in detoxification of toxic substances. Exposure to 2-phenylethanol only partially mimicked the metabolic effects observed by the whole yeast volatilome, with protein biosynthesis and proliferative activity being reduced when compared with the control samples, but still far from the VOCs-exposed condition. This study represents the first investigation on the effects of yeast-derived volatilome and 2-phenylethanol on the metabolism of a mycotoxigenic fungus by means of proteomics analysis. Chemical compounds studied or used in this article 2-Phenylethanol (PubChem CID: 6054); ochratoxin-A (PubChem CID: 442530); sodium dodecyl sulfate (PubChem CID: 3423265); dithiothreitol (PubChem CID: 446094); phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride (PubChem CID: 4784); iodoacetamide (PubChem CID: 3727); ammonium bicarbonate (PubChem CID: 14013); acetic acid (PubChem CID: 176); and acetonitrile (PubChem CID: 6342).

Other Information

Published in: International Journal of Food Microbiology
See article on publisher's website:


Qatar National Research Fund (NPRP8-392-4-003), “MYCOSAFE 2.0 - Monitoring, prevention and control of mycotoxin contamination in Qatar”.



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2019

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Qatar University
  • College of Arts and Sciences - QU