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Cereal Chem. 71:55-58   |  VIEW ARTICLE

Ergosterol Content in Relation to Grain Kernel Weight.

S. Regner, J. Schnurer, and A. Jonsson. Copyright 1994 by the American Association of Cereal Chemists, Inc. 

The relation between fungal biomass content and grain kernel weight was investigated in five lots of grain: three wheat, one rye, and one triticale. Fungal biomass was quantified as ergosterol content. Samples were fractionated on the basis of grain kernel weight using an automatic sorter. In all lots, ergosterol concentrations increased as kernel weight decreased. In four of the five lots, the absolute amount of ergosterol per kernel also increased with decreasing kernel weight. Within-cultivar variation in ergosterol levels could not be explained solely by differences in surface-to-volume ratio. Ergosterol concentrations in the impurities (material not classified as whole, sound kernels) were generally several times higher than those in the original lots. Although concentrations of ergosterol were relatively high in small kernels and impurities, removal of these fractions did not significantly influence the average ergosterol levels of the lots, due to the low relative weight of these fractions. Separation during handling of the grain might, however, lead to extreme ergosterol concentrations in certain locations of the storage bins. These locations can serve as potential starting points for mold growth.

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