<i>Fusarium proliferatum</i> and fumonisin B1 co-occur with <i>Fusarium</i> species causing Fusarium Head Blight in durum wheat in Italy
Fusarium Head Blight caused by phytopathogenic Fusarium spp. with Fusarium graminearum as main causal agent is a major disease of durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.). Mycotoxins in wheat are dominated by trichothecenes B. Fumonisins have only occasionally been reported from wheat; their occurrence was attributed to Fusarium proliferatum and Fusarium verticillioides.
We investigated kernels of durum wheat grown in Italy in 2008 - 2010 for colonization with Fusarium spp. and for the content of Fusarium mycotoxins. Fungal biomass was determined using species-specific qPCR and mycotoxins were quantified by HPLC-MS/MS. Fusarium graminearum and Fusarium culmorum were dominating Fusarium species, followed by Fusarium poae, Fusarium tricinctum, and Fusarium proliferatum. No Fusarium verticillioides DNA was found. Toxicologically relevant levels of deoxynivalenol and nivalenol but no trichothecenes A were detected. Enniatins, fumonisin B1 and beauvericin were present in grain in all three years. Based on these results and on the evaluation of previous published reports, we hypothesize that low levels of fumonisins commonly occur in wheat grains produced in warm climate; they may remain undetected as long as mycotoxin monitoring programs for wheat do not include fumonisins. The only relevant source of fumonisins in wheat grain appears to be Fusarium proliferatum.
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