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Anal Bioanal Chem. 2008 Jul;391(6):2257-63. doi: 10.1007/s00216-008-2166-x. Epub 2008 May 17.

A single extraction method for the analysis by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry of fumonisins and biomarkers of disrupted sphingolipid metabolism in tissues of maize seedlings.

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  • 1USDA-ARS, Toxicology and Mycotoxin Research Unit, R.B. Russell Research Center, Athens, GA 30604, USA.


The fungus Fusarium verticillioides is a pathogen of many plants and produces fumonisins. In addition to their well-studied animal toxicoses, these toxins contribute to the development of maize seedling disease in susceptible maize varieties. Fumonisin disruption of sphingolipid biosynthesis occurs during pathogenesis. An extraction method was developed for the simultaneous analysis of fumonisins B(1) (FB(1)), B(2) (FB(2)) and B(3) (FB(3)), free sphingoid bases and sphingoid base 1-phosphates in maize tissues by liquid chromatography/linear ion trap tandem mass spectrometry. The method involved a single extraction using 1:1 acetonitrile:water + 5% formic acid (1 ml per 10 mg tissue). Mean recoveries ranged from approximately 50 to 99 percent, and limits of detection ranged from 10 fg microl(-1) to 6900 fg microl(-1). To test the efficacy of the method, seeds of a susceptible maize line were inoculated with a pathogenic, fumonisin-producing strain of F. verticillioides. The seedlings were then harvested, and fumonisin content, as well as sphingoid bases and their 1-phosphates, were measured in the leaf and root tissues. Fumonisin accumulation was significantly greater in leaf one compared to leaves two and three. While FB(1), FB(2), and FB(3) were detected in root tissues, FB(1) was preferentially accumulated in leaf tissues. Accumulation of sphingoid bases and their 1-phosphates was evident in roots and leaves of seedlings grown from inoculated seed, with the level of accumulation being similar in leaves 1, 2 and 3. The method developed was effective, fast, and sensitive for use in simultaneously measuring fumonisin in tissues and their effects on sphingolipid metabolite biomarkers of disease. The method should be useful for screening maize cultivars for susceptibility to F. verticillioides-induced seedling diseases.

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