Fungal Biol 120(8) , 1041-9 (Aug 1 2016)
Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a mycotoxin produced by some Aspergillus and Penicillium species that grow on economically important agricultural crops and food products. OTA is classified as Group 2B carcinogen and is potently nephrotoxic, which is the basis for its regulation in some jurisdictions. Using high resolution mass spectroscopy, OTA and ochratoxin B (OTB) were detected in liquid culture extracts of Penicillium thymicola DAOMC 180753 isolated from Canadian cheddar cheese. The genome of this strain was sequenced, assembled and annotated to probe for putative genes involved in OTA biosynthesis. Known OTA biosynthetic genes from Penicillium verrucosum or Penicillium nordicum, two related Penicillium species that produce OTA, were not found in P. thymicola. However, a gene cluster containing a polyketide synthase (PKS) and PKS-nonribosomal peptide synthase (NRPS) hybrid encoding genes were located in the P. thymicola genome that showed a high degree of similarity to OTA biosynthetic enzymes of Aspergillus carbonarius and Aspergillus ochraceus. This is the first report of ochratoxin from P. thymicola and a new record of the species in Canada.