Genetic Fusarium chemotyping as a useful tool for predicting nivalenol contamination in winter wheat

M Pasquali, F Giraud, C Brochot, E Cocco, L Hoffmann, T Bohn
International Journal of Food Microbiology 2010 February 28, 137 (2-3): 246-53
Fusarium graminearum [teleomorph Gibberella zeae] and Fusarium culmorum together with Fusarium poae are the main species known to produce nivalenol (NIV). The NIV content in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) harvested in Luxembourg was investigated in 2007 and 2008 at 17 different locations. Species determination and genetic chemotyping of F. graminearum and F. culmorum were used to understand the spatial distribution of NIV producers in wheat from Luxembourg. Three hundred thirteen F. graminearum, 175 F. culmorum and 117 F. poae strains respectively were isolated. Chemotypes of the first two species were determined by PCR and confirmed on a sub-sample of single isolates by LC-MS/MS analysis. The 15-acetylated DON chemotype of F. graminearum was dominant in both years representing 94.2% of the population while the NIV chemotype represented 5.8%. The F. culmorum chemotypes were rather evenly distributed, with 3-acetylated DON and NIV profiles present with similar abundances (53.2% and 46.8%, respectively). NIV presence in wheat flour obtained from the 17 sites was correlated with the number of F. culmorum (NIV chemotype) isolated from 100 seeds, suggesting its primary role in NIV production on grains. The predictive power for identifying NIV contamination in grains based on NIV chemotype presence was confirmed by coupling the isolation procedure with a cut-off value, resulting in the successful identification (100%, p=0.008) of NIV contamination in grains collected from 9 additional experimental sites. In conclusion, the results highlight the importance of chemotyping for improved prediction of toxin contamination in wheat.

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