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J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Jan;49(1):522-6.

Impact of competitive fungi on Trichothecene production by Fusarium graminearum.

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  • 1HortResearch and AgResearch, Ruakura Research Centre, Private Bag 3123, Hamilton, New Zealand.


Bioassays were used to determine the production of the trichothecene mycotoxin, deoxynivalenol (DON), by two isolates of Fusarium graminearum when grown in association with potentially competitive fungi and an antifungal chemical, 6-pentyl-alpha-pyrone (6PAP). The presence of 6PAP in the culture medium reduced DON production by as much as 80%, but this effect was reduced for the F. graminearum isolate that most efficiently metabolized the added 6PAP. A 6PAP-producing Trichoderma isolate grown in a competition assay system with the F. graminearum isolates was also able to substantially reduce DON production. When Fusarium isolates (F. crookwellense, F. culmorum, F. subglutinans, F. poae, F. equiseti, F. avenaceum, and F. sambucinum), which co-occur with F. graminearum in New Zealand maize plants (Zea mays), were grown in competition assays, the effect on DON production was variable. However, all isolates of F. subglutinans tested were shown to cause reductions in DON production (by 13-76%, mean = 62%). F. subglutinans frequently co-occurs with F. graminearum, but its presence can vary with location and time of the season. When the competitive fungus tested was also a trichothecene producer (e.g., of nivalenol), both toxins were produced in the assay medium. The results indicate that mycotoxin production by F. graminearum can be affected by the presence of particular competitive fungi. These results have implications for an ecological understanding of pathogenicity and of mycotoxin accumulation in plants. Early establishment of F. subglutinans, for example, may act as a biological control mechanism providing a temporary protection against invasion by more commonly toxigenic fusaria such as F. graminearum.

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