The origin of aflatoxin G1 was studied using mutant strains of Aspergillus parasiticus blocked early in the pathway and by tracing 14C-labelled aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) in wild-type A. flavus and A. parasiticus strains. Sterigmatocystin (ST) was a precursor of AFB1, AFG1 and AFG2 in the four mutants examined. The identity of AFG1 was confirmed by mass spectrometry. No evidence for conversion of AFB1 to AFG1 was found. A rigorously controlled study of conversions of radioactivity based on preparative thin-layer chromatography of aflatoxins demonstrated that low levels of aflatoxin interconversions previously reported in the literature might actually be artifacts.
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