Toxicity of Fusarium Head Blight Increasing

CANADA - Research being conducted by the University of Manitoba shows the type of mycotoxins produced by fusarium head blight infected wheat are becoming more toxic, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 22 October 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Fusarium head blight reduces cereal yields and produces the mycotoxin Deoxynivalenon or DON.

Scientists with the University of Manitoba have been tracking the disease in spring wheat to determine whether the mycotoxin is becoming more virulent.

Dr. Dilantha Fernando, a professor in the Department of Plant Science notes DON has two key derivatives, distinguished as 15 Acetyl or 15-A DON and 3-A DON.

Dr. Dilantha Fernando-University of Manitoba

It is considered that 3 a DON is more toxic and it will produce more of the toxin.

So, because of that, we started working on that to see whether this was really true so we went to real farmers fields all across Manitoba for four years and collected samples of wheat and looked for the fusarium and looked for the type of toxin that was produced and the chemo-type 3-A DON has been on the increase.

So the question that we now have and we are trying to answer through research is are these 3-A DON producing isolates more aggressive on the plant; do they cause more infection; is their pathogenicity, which means the virulence, higher than the 15 A DON produces; and more important to the industry is it going to have more DON produced?

Dr. Fernando notes, when heavily infected samples of winter wheat collected by farmers and provided to the Canadian Wheat board last year, were analyzed there was a much higher percentage of the 3-A DON.

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