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Toxins, Volume 10, Issue 3 (March 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The cover illustrates the crystal structure of five single domain antibody fragments (Nanobodies, [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle A QuEChERS-Based Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry Method for the Simultaneous Determination of Nine Zearalenone-Like Mycotoxins in Pigs
Received: 6 February 2018 / Revised: 14 March 2018 / Accepted: 15 March 2018 / Published: 20 March 2018
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Abstract
The determination of zearalenone (ZEN) and its derivatives as biomarkers in animal tissues or organs plays an important role in mycotoxin monitoring and can promote effective exposure assessment. A liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method for the simultaneous quantification of nine ZEN-like mycotoxins,
[...] Read more.
The determination of zearalenone (ZEN) and its derivatives as biomarkers in animal tissues or organs plays an important role in mycotoxin monitoring and can promote effective exposure assessment. A liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method for the simultaneous quantification of nine ZEN-like mycotoxins, including three glucuronides in different pig tissues (heart, liver, spleen and muscle) was developed and validated in this study. Tissue samples were extracted using a quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe (QuEChERS) extraction and clean-up procedure, and analyzed by LC-MS/MS in multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) mode. Dynamic linear ranges for each target analyte were determined with R2 between 0.916 and 0.999. The LODs of the six ZENs were achieved in the range of 0.5–1 ng/g and the LOQs varied from 1 ng/g to 2 ng/g. The satisfying intra-day and inter-day reproducibility (both RSDr and RSDR < 20%) indicated a good stability of this method. The recoveries of the nine target analytes were in the range of 70–110%. The validation results showed that this LC-MS/MS method coupled with QuEChERS sample pretreatment is effective and suitable for the simultaneous quantitation of ZEN metabolites in pigs. It has been applied to analysis of the pig tissues in this research and can be also adapted for samples in the mycotoxin research field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mycotoxins)
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Open AccessArticle Botulinum Toxin B Affects Neuropathic Pain but Not Functional Recovery after Peripheral Nerve Injury in a Mouse Model
Received: 12 February 2018 / Revised: 13 March 2018 / Accepted: 15 March 2018 / Published: 18 March 2018
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Abstract
Clinical use of neurotoxins from Clostridium botulinum is well established and is continuously expanding, including in treatment of pain conditions. Background: The serotype A (BoNT/A) has been widely investigated, and current data demonstrate that it induces analgesia and modulates nociceptive processing initiated
[...] Read more.
Clinical use of neurotoxins from Clostridium botulinum is well established and is continuously expanding, including in treatment of pain conditions. Background: The serotype A (BoNT/A) has been widely investigated, and current data demonstrate that it induces analgesia and modulates nociceptive processing initiated by inflammation or nerve injury. Given that data concerning the serotype B (BoNT/B) are limited, the aim of the present study was to verify if also BoNT/B is able not only to counteract neuropathic pain, but also to interfere with inflammatory and regenerative processes associated with the nerve injury. Methods: As model of neuropathic pain, chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve was performed in CD1 male mice. Mice were intraplantarly injected with saline (control) or BoNT/B (5 or 7.5 pg/mouse) into the injured hindpaw. For comparison, another mouse group was injected with BoNT/A (15 pg/mouse). Mechanical allodynia and functional recovery of the injured paw was followed for 101 days. Spinal cords and sciatic nerves were collected at day 7 for immunohistochemistry. Results and Conclusions: The results of this study show that BoNT/B is a powerful biological molecule that, similarly to BoNT/A, can reduce neuropathic pain over a long period of time. However, the analgesic effects are not associated with an improvement in functional recovery, clearly highlighting an important difference between the two serotypes for the treatment of this chronic pain state. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Long-Term Occurrence of Deoxynivalenol in Feed and Feed Raw Materials with a Special Focus on South Korea
Received: 5 February 2018 / Revised: 12 March 2018 / Accepted: 15 March 2018 / Published: 16 March 2018
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Abstract
The Fusarium fungi produce toxic substances called mycotoxins, which can cause disease and harmful effects in grains, livestock, and humans. Deoxynivalenol (DON), also known as vomitoxin, is one of the Fusarium mycotoxins that is known to cause vomiting in livestock. This study shows
[...] Read more.
The Fusarium fungi produce toxic substances called mycotoxins, which can cause disease and harmful effects in grains, livestock, and humans. Deoxynivalenol (DON), also known as vomitoxin, is one of the Fusarium mycotoxins that is known to cause vomiting in livestock. This study shows the occurrence of deoxynivalenol in feedstuffs (compound feed and feed ingredients) between 2009 and 2016 in South Korea. A total of 653 domestic samples were collected at five time points, including 494 compound feed samples and 159 feed ingredient samples. DON contamination levels were analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with pretreatment using an immunoaffinity column (IAC). The limit of detection (LOD) and the limit of quantification (LOQ) were estimated at 1–10 µg/kg and 3–35 µg/kg, respectively. Two compound feeds (two gestating sow feed samples) out of 160 pig feed samples exceeded the European Commission (EC) guidance value, while no feed ingredient samples exceeded the EC or South Korean guidance values. There were statistically significant differences in the mean contamination levels of compound feed and feed ingredients that indicated a decreasing trend over time. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Understanding Mycotoxin Occurrence in Food and Feed Chains)
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Open AccessEditorial Toxins in Drug Discovery and Pharmacology
Received: 12 March 2018 / Revised: 13 March 2018 / Accepted: 14 March 2018 / Published: 16 March 2018
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Abstract
Venoms from marine and terrestrial animals (cone snails, scorpions, spiders, snakes, centipedes, cnidarian, etc.) can be seen as an untapped cocktail of biologically active compounds, being increasingly recognized as a new emerging source of peptide-based therapeutics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxins in Drug Discovery and Pharmacology) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle The Replacement of five Consecutive Amino Acids in the Cyt1A Protein of Bacillus thuringiensis Enhances its Cytotoxic Activity against Lung Epithelial Cancer Cells
Received: 13 February 2018 / Revised: 8 March 2018 / Accepted: 14 March 2018 / Published: 16 March 2018
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Abstract
Cyt1A protein is a cytolytic protein encoded by the cyt gene of Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis (Bti) as part of the parasporal crystal proteins produced during the sporulation. Cyt1A protein is unique compared to the other endotoxins present in these parasporal crystals. Unlike
[...] Read more.
Cyt1A protein is a cytolytic protein encoded by the cyt gene of Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis (Bti) as part of the parasporal crystal proteins produced during the sporulation. Cyt1A protein is unique compared to the other endotoxins present in these parasporal crystals. Unlike δ-endotoxins, Cyt1A protein does not require receptors to bind to the target cell and activate the toxicity. It has the ability to affect a broad range of cell types and organisms, due to this characteristic. Cyt1A has been recognized to not only target the insect cells directly, but also recruit other endotoxins by acting as receptors. Due to these mode of actions, Cyt1A has been studied for its cytolytic activity against human cancer cell lines, although not extensively. In this study, we report a novel Cyt1A protein produced by a Bti strain QBT229 isolated from Qatar. When tested for its cytotoxicity against lung cancer cells, this local strain showed considerably higher activity compared to that of the reference Bti and other strains tested. The possible reasons for such enhanced activity were explored at the gene and protein levels. It was evidenced that five consecutive amino acid replacements in the β8 sheet of the Cyt1A protein enhanced the cytotoxicity against the lung epithelial cancer cells. Such novel Cyt1A protein with high cytotoxicity against lung cancer cells has been characterized and reported through this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacterial Toxins: Structure–Function Relationship)
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Open AccessArticle Indoxyl Sulfate Promotes Macrophage IL-1β Production by Activating Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor/NF-κ/MAPK Cascades, but the NLRP3 inflammasome Was Not Activated
Received: 16 February 2018 / Revised: 11 March 2018 / Accepted: 13 March 2018 / Published: 15 March 2018
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Abstract
In chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients, accumulation of uremic toxins is associated with cardiovascular risk and mortality. One of the hallmarks of kidney disease-related cardiovascular disease is intravascular macrophage inflammation, but the mechanism of the reaction with these toxins is not completely understood.
[...] Read more.
In chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients, accumulation of uremic toxins is associated with cardiovascular risk and mortality. One of the hallmarks of kidney disease-related cardiovascular disease is intravascular macrophage inflammation, but the mechanism of the reaction with these toxins is not completely understood. Macrophages differentiated from THP-1 cells were exposed to indoxyl sulfate (IS), a representative uremic toxin, and changes in inflammatory cytokine production and intracellular signaling molecules including interleukin (IL)-1, aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), nuclear factor (NF)-κ, and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades as well as the NLRP3 inflammasome were quantified by real-time PCR, Western blot analysis, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. IS induced macrophage pro-IL-1β mRNA expression, although mature IL-1 was only slightly increased. IS increased AhR and the AhR-related mRNA expression; this change was suppressed by administration of proteasome inhibitor. IS promoted phosphorylation of NF-κB p65 and MAPK enzymes; the reaction and IL-1 expression were inhibited by BAY11-7082, an inhibitor of NF-κB. In contrast, IS decreased NLRP3 and did not change ASC, pro-caspase 1, or caspase-1 activation. IS-inducing inflammation in macrophages results from accelerating AhR-NF-κB/MAPK cascades, but the NLRP3 inflammasome was not activated. These reactions may restrict mature IL-1β production, which may explain sustained chronic inflammation in CKD patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Issues in Uremic Toxicity)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle Warming Affects Growth Rates and Microcystin Production in Tropical Bloom-Forming Microcystis Strains
Received: 6 January 2018 / Revised: 27 February 2018 / Accepted: 12 March 2018 / Published: 14 March 2018
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Abstract
Warming climate is predicted to promote cyanobacterial blooms but the toxicity of cyanobacteria under global warming is less well studied. We tested the hypothesis that raising temperature may lead to increased growth rates but to decreased microcystin (MC) production in tropical Microcystis strains.
[...] Read more.
Warming climate is predicted to promote cyanobacterial blooms but the toxicity of cyanobacteria under global warming is less well studied. We tested the hypothesis that raising temperature may lead to increased growth rates but to decreased microcystin (MC) production in tropical Microcystis strains. To this end, six Microcystis strains were isolated from different water bodies in Southern Vietnam. They were grown in triplicate at 27 °C (low), 31 °C (medium), 35 °C (high) and 37 °C (extreme). Chlorophyll-a-, particle- and MC concentrations as well as dry-weights were determined. All strains yielded higher biomass in terms of chlorophyll-a concentration and dry-weight at 31 °C compared to 27 °C and then either stabilised, slightly increased or declined with higher temperature. Five strains easily grew at 37 °C but one could not survive at 37 °C. When temperature was increased from 27 °C to 37 °C total MC concentration decreased by 35% in strains with MC-LR as the dominant variant and by 94% in strains with MC-RR. MC quota expressed per particle, per unit chlorophyll-a and per unit dry-weight significantly declined with higher temperatures. This study shows that warming can prompt the growth of some tropical Microcystis strains but that these strains become less toxic. Full article
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Open AccessLetter Analysing the Structural Effect of Point Mutations of Cytotoxic Necrotizing Factor 1 (CNF1) on Lu/BCAM Adhesion Glycoprotein Association
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 6 March 2018 / Accepted: 8 March 2018 / Published: 13 March 2018
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Abstract
Cytotoxic Necrotizing Factor 1 (CNF1) was identified in 1983 as a protein toxin produced by certain pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli. Since then, numerous studies have investigated its particularities. For instance, it is associated with the single chain AB-toxin family, and can
[...] Read more.
Cytotoxic Necrotizing Factor 1 (CNF1) was identified in 1983 as a protein toxin produced by certain pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli. Since then, numerous studies have investigated its particularities. For instance, it is associated with the single chain AB-toxin family, and can be divided into different functional and structural domains, e.g., catalytic and transmembrane domain and interaction sites. A few years ago, the identification of the Lutheran (Lu) adhesion glycoprotein/basal cell adhesion molecule (BCAM) as a cellular receptor for CNF1 provided new insights into the adhesion process of CNF1. Very recently, the Ig-like domain 2 of Lu/BCAM was confirmed as the main interaction site using protein-protein interaction and competition studies with various different mutants. Here, I present in silico approaches that precisely explain the impact of these mutations, leading to a better explanation of these experimental studies. These results can be used in the development of future antitoxin strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
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Open AccessArticle The Primary Duct of Bothrops jararaca Glandular Apparatus Secretes Toxins
Received: 21 February 2018 / Revised: 8 March 2018 / Accepted: 10 March 2018 / Published: 13 March 2018
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Abstract
Despite numerous studies concerning morphology and venom production and secretion in the main venom gland (and some data on the accessory gland) of the venom glandular apparatus of Viperidae snakes, the primary duct has been overlooked. We characterized the primary duct of the
[...] Read more.
Despite numerous studies concerning morphology and venom production and secretion in the main venom gland (and some data on the accessory gland) of the venom glandular apparatus of Viperidae snakes, the primary duct has been overlooked. We characterized the primary duct of the Bothrops jararaca snake by morphological analysis, immunohistochemistry and proteomics. The duct has a pseudostratified epithelium with secretory columnar cells with vesicles of various electrondensities, as well as mitochondria-rich, dark, basal, and horizontal cells. Morphological analysis, at different periods after venom extraction, showed that the primary duct has a long cycle of synthesis and secretion, as do the main venom and accessory glands; however, the duct has a mixed mode venom storage, both in the lumen and in secretory vesicles. Mouse anti-B. jararaca venom serum strongly stained the primary duct’s epithelium. Subsequent proteomic analysis revealed the synthesis of venom toxins—mainly C-type lectin/C-type lectin-like proteins. We propose that the primary duct’s toxin synthesis products complement the final venom bolus. Finally, we hypothesize that the primary duct and the accessory gland (components of the venom glandular apparatus) are part of the evolutionary path from a salivary gland towards the main venom gland. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
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Open AccessArticle Functional Characterization of the alb1 Orthologue Gene in the Ochratoxigenic Fungus Aspergillus carbonarius (AC49 strain)
Received: 26 January 2018 / Revised: 6 March 2018 / Accepted: 9 March 2018 / Published: 12 March 2018
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Abstract
Aspergillus carbonarius, belonging to the group Nigri, is the main species responsible for contamination by ochratoxin A (OTA) in grapes and derivative products. OTA can accumulate in the mycelium and in black conidia of the fungus and released into the matrix. Here,
[...] Read more.
Aspergillus carbonarius, belonging to the group Nigri, is the main species responsible for contamination by ochratoxin A (OTA) in grapes and derivative products. OTA can accumulate in the mycelium and in black conidia of the fungus and released into the matrix. Here, we have deleted in A. carbonarius the alb1 orthologue gene of A. fumigatus, involved in melanin biosynthesis. Three A. carbonarius Δalb1 mutants were characterized for morphologic traits and OTA production on different media and temperatures. Δalb1 mutants showed a fawn color of conidia associated with a significant reduction of the conidiogenesis and a statistically significant increase (p ≤ 0.01) of total OTA production as compared to the wild type (WT) strain. The alb1 gene somehow affected OTA partitioning since in Δalb1 mutants OTA amount was lower in conidia and was more abundantly secreted into the medium as compared to the WT. On grape berries the Δalb1 mutants and the WT caused lesions with similar sizes but OTA amount in berry tissues was higher for the mutants. These results demonstrate that A. carbonarius conidia pigmentation is largely dependent on polyketide biosynthesis. The gene is not directly involved in virulence and its deletion affects morphological features and OTA production in the fungus. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An Imaging Surface Plasmon Resonance Biosensor Assay for the Detection of T-2 Toxin and Masked T-2 Toxin-3-Glucoside in Wheat
Received: 25 January 2018 / Revised: 2 March 2018 / Accepted: 7 March 2018 / Published: 10 March 2018
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Abstract
A sensitive, rapid, and reproducible imaging surface plasmon resonance (iSPR) biosensor assay was developed to detect T-2 toxin and T-2 toxin-3-glucoside (T2-G) in wheat. In this competitive assay, an amplification strategy was used after conjugating a secondary antibody (Ab2) with gold
[...] Read more.
A sensitive, rapid, and reproducible imaging surface plasmon resonance (iSPR) biosensor assay was developed to detect T-2 toxin and T-2 toxin-3-glucoside (T2-G) in wheat. In this competitive assay, an amplification strategy was used after conjugating a secondary antibody (Ab2) with gold nanoparticles. Wheat samples were extracted with a methanol/water mixture (80:20 v/v), then diluted with an equal volume of primary antibody (Ab1) for analysis. Matrix-matched calibration curves were prepared to determine T-2 toxin and T2-G. Recovery studies were conducted at three spiking levels in blank wheat. Mean recoveries ranged from 86 to 90%, with relative standard deviations for repeatability (RSDr) of less than 6%. Limits of detection were 1.2 ng/mL of T-2 toxin and 0.9 ng/mL of T2-G, equivalent to their levels in wheat, of 48 and 36 µg/kg, respectively. The developed iSPR assay was rapid and provided enough sensitivity for the monitoring of T-2 toxin/T2-G in wheat. This is the first iSPR assay useful for detecting the “masked” T2-G in wheat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Sensors for Toxins)
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Open AccessReview EU Regulatory Risk Management of Marine Biotoxins in the Marine Bivalve Mollusc Food-Chain
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 1 March 2018 / Accepted: 5 March 2018 / Published: 10 March 2018
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Abstract
Food safety risk assessment in the European Union (EU) recognises consumer illness that arises from marine biotoxins as a risk associated with bivalve mollusc consumption. EU food regulations contain various general food safety obligations, which should contribute significantly to managing this risk. EU
[...] Read more.
Food safety risk assessment in the European Union (EU) recognises consumer illness that arises from marine biotoxins as a risk associated with bivalve mollusc consumption. EU food regulations contain various general food safety obligations, which should contribute significantly to managing this risk. EU food regulations additionally impose various specific obligations on both Food Business Operators and Competent Authorities in order to manage the marine biotoxin food safety risk in the bivalve mollusc food-chain. These have a particular focus on the pre-harvest component of the food-chain. A central component of these specific systems is the requirement for ongoing monitoring of phytoplankton and biotoxin concentrations in water and molluscs, respectively. This monitoring explicitly brings a potential outcome of closing production areas delineated by classification to prohibit the harvest of bivalve molluscs as food from those areas when acceptable biotoxin concentrations are exceeded. This review considers the utility of these systems, at conceptual and practical levels, and explores their contribution to an effective regulatory risk management approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health Outreach to Prevention of Aquatic Toxin Exposure)
Open AccessArticle G Protein α Subunit GpaB is Required for Asexual Development, Aflatoxin Biosynthesis and Pathogenicity by Regulating cAMP Signaling in Aspergillus flavus
Received: 5 February 2018 / Revised: 5 March 2018 / Accepted: 7 March 2018 / Published: 10 March 2018
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Abstract
The heterotrimeric G proteins are critical for signal transduction and function in numerous biological processes including vegetative growth, asexual development and fungal virulence in fungi. Here, we identified four G protein alpha subunits (GanA, GpaB, FadA and GaoC) in the notorious Aflatoxin-producing fungus
[...] Read more.
The heterotrimeric G proteins are critical for signal transduction and function in numerous biological processes including vegetative growth, asexual development and fungal virulence in fungi. Here, we identified four G protein alpha subunits (GanA, GpaB, FadA and GaoC) in the notorious Aflatoxin-producing fungus Aspergillus flavus. GanA, GpaB and FadA have homologues in other fungal species, while GaoC is a novel one. Here, we showed that the loss function of gpaB displayed a defect in conidiophore formation and considerably reduced expression levels of conidia-specific genes brlA and abaA. A decreased viability of cell wall integrity stress and oxidative stress were also found in the ∆gpaB mutant. More importantly, aflatoxin (AF) biosynthesis and infection on crop seeds were severely impaired in the gpaB-deficient mutant. Further analyses demonstrated that the intracellular cAMP levels significantly reduced in the gpaB-deficient mutant compared to wildtype strains. Additionally, an alteration of PKA activities in the ∆gpaB mutant was also found. Overall, our results indicated that GpaB played diverse roles in asexual sporulation, AF biosynthesis and virulence by regulating cAMP signaling in Aspergillus flavus. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Aflatoxins)
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Open AccessEditorial Promising Detoxification Strategies to Mitigate Mycotoxins in Food and Feed
Received: 19 February 2018 / Revised: 7 March 2018 / Accepted: 7 March 2018 / Published: 9 March 2018
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Abstract
Mycotoxins are secondary fungal metabolites associated with adverse human health and animal productivity consequences.[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle Host and Cropping System Shape the Fusarium Population: 3ADON-Producers Are Ubiquitous in Wheat Whereas NIV-Producers Are More Prevalent in Rice
Received: 5 February 2018 / Revised: 24 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 March 2018 / Published: 8 March 2018
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Abstract
In recent years, Fusarium head blight (FHB) outbreaks have occurred much more frequently in China. The reduction of burning of the preceding crop residues is suggested to contribute to more severe epidemics as it may increase the initial inoculum. In this study, a
[...] Read more.
In recent years, Fusarium head blight (FHB) outbreaks have occurred much more frequently in China. The reduction of burning of the preceding crop residues is suggested to contribute to more severe epidemics as it may increase the initial inoculum. In this study, a large number of Fusarium isolates was collected from blighted wheat spikes as well as from rice stubble with perithecia originating from nine sampling sites in five provinces in Southern China. Fusarium asiaticum dominated both wheat and rice populations, although rice populations showed a higher species diversity. Chemotype analysis showed that rice is the preferred niche for NIV mycotoxin producers that were shown to be less virulent on wheat. In contrast, 3ADON producers are more prevalent on wheat and in wheat producing areas. The 3ADON producers were shown to be more virulent on wheat, revealing the selection pressure of wheat on 3ADON producers. For the first time, members of the Incarnatum-clade of Fusarium Incarnatum-Equiseti Species Complex (FIESC) were found to reproduce sexually on rice stubble. The pathogenicity of FIESC isolates on wheat proved very low and this may cause the apparent absence of this species in the main wheat producing provinces. This is the first report of the Fusarium population structure including rice stubble as well as a direct comparison with the population on wheat heads in the same fields. Our results confirm that the perithecia on rice stubble are the primary inoculum of FHB on wheat and that cropping systems affect the local Fusarium population. Full article
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