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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Fumonisin Contamination of Corn and Development of Cellular, Biological, and Environmental Control Strategies.

Author
item Glenn, Anthony

Submitted to: Mycopathologia
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: October 24, 2001
Publication Date: January 15, 2003
Citation: GLENN, A.E. 2003. FUMONISIN CONTAMINATION OF CORN AND DEVELOPMENT OF CELLULAR, BIOLOGICAL, AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL STRATEGIES.. MYCOPATHOLOGIA. v.155. p.30-32.

Interpretive Summary: The 2nd Fumonisin Elimination Workshop was once again held immediately prior to the Aflatoxin Elimination Workshop. Recent expansion of the workshop program to include fumonisins stems from food safety concerns associated with fumonisin contamination of corn. Such contamination results from pre-harvest fungal infection of corn, primarily by Fusarium verticillioides. This fungus is widely considered an endophyte of corn plants, is found world-wide wherever corn is grown, and is often the dominant fungus found infecting corn tissues, including kernels. Thus, given its close association with corn and its capacity to produce fumonisin mycotoxins, management strategies to eliminate, or at least significantly reduce levels of infection and production of fumonisins are of obvious concern. Reflective of the growing interest in F. verticillioides and its processes of infection and fumonisin contamination of corn, this year's workshop program consisted of eight presentations outlining the biological complexity of this fungus and its interactions with corn, while identifying potential strategies of control. A common theme emerging from the reports was the impact that environmental conditions can have on the severity of fumonisin production and contamination. Overall fungal population structure, frequency of fumonisin-producing fungi in that population, and their inoculum levels were discussed as contributing factors in combination with environmental conditions. The discussion also focused quite heavily on the issue of some symptomless infections having significant levels of fumonisin contamination. Identification and utilization of resistant genetic corn stock were stressed as objectives necessary for management and control of Fusarium infection, ear rot development, and fumonisin contamination, especially given the close association between corn and the endophytic F. verticillioides. Clearly much can still be learned about the interactions of F. verticillioides with its host and the impact of environmental conditions. Such knowledge in combination with resistance corn lines could greatly facilitate management of fumonisin contamination.

Technical Abstract: The 2nd Fumonisin Elimination Workshop was once again held immediately prior to the Aflatoxin Elimination Workshop. Recent expansion of the workshop program to include fumonisins stems from food safety concerns associated with fumonisin contamination of corn. Such contamination results from pre-harvest fungal infection of corn, primarily by Fusarium verticillioides. This fungus is widely considered an endophyte of corn plants, is found world-wide wherever corn is grown, and is often the dominant fungus found infecting corn tissues, including kernels. Thus, given its close association with corn and its capacity to produce fumonisin mycotoxins, management strategies to eliminate, or at least significantly reduce levels of infection and production of fumonisins are of obvious concern. Reflective of the growing interest in F. verticillioides and its processes of infection and fumonisin contamination of corn, this year's workshop program consisted of eight presentations outlining the biological complexity of this fungus and its interactions with corn, while identifying potential strategies of control. A common theme emerging from the reports was the impact that environmental conditions can have on the severity of fumonisin production and contamination. Overall fungal population structure, frequency of fumonisin-producing fungi in that population, and their inoculum levels were discussed as contributing factors in combination with environmental conditions. The discussion also focused quite heavily on the issue of some symptomless infections having significant levels of fumonisin contamination. Identification and utilization of resistant genetic corn stock were stressed as objectives necessary for management and control of Fusarium infection, ear rot development, and fumonisin contamination, especially given the close association between corn and the endophytic F. verticillioides. Clearly much can still be learned about the interactions of F. verticillioides with its host and the impact of environmental conditions. Such knowledge in combination with resistance corn lines could greatly facilitate management of fumonisin contamination.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
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