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J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Feb 13;50(4):728-31.

Fungal growth and fusarium mycotoxin content in isogenic traditional maize and genetically modified maize grown in France and Spain.

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Laboratoire de Microbiologie et Technologie Céréalières, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), Nantes, France.


Fungi of the genus Fusarium are common fungal contaminants of maize and are also known to produce mycotoxins. Maize that has been genetically modified to express a Bt endotoxin has been used to study the effect of insect resistance on fungal infection of maize grains by Fusarium species and their related mycotoxins. Maize grain from Bt hybrids and near-isogenic traditional hybrids was collected in France and Spain from the 1999 crop, which was grown under natural conditions. According to the ergosterol level, the fungal biomass formed on Bt maize grain was 4-18 times lower than that on isogenic maize. Fumonisin B(1) grain concentrations ranged from 0.05 to 0.3 ppm for Bt maize and from 0.4 to 9 ppm for isogenic maize. Moderate to low concentrations of trichothecenes and zearalenone were measured on transgenic as well as on non-transgenic maize. Nevertheless, significant differences were obtained in certain regions. The protection of maize plants against insect damage (European corn borer and pink stem borer) through the use of Bt technology seems to be a way to reduce the contamination of maize by Fusarium species and the resultant fumonisins in maize grain grown in France and Spain.

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