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Maize (Zea mays), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) and pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) are basic staple foods for many rural or poorer communities. These crops are susceptible to plant diseases caused by multiple species of Fusarium, some of which also produce mycotoxins, including fumonisins and moniliformin that are detrimental to both humans and domesticated animals. Eighteen potentially toxigenic Fusarium strains were isolated from maize (n = 10), sorghum (n = 7) and pearl millet (n = 1) growing in the same field in Nigeria. The 17 strains from maize and sorghum were all F. proliferatum and the one strain from pearl millet was F. pseudonygamai. Under conducive conditions, the 17 F. proliferatum strains produced fumonisins, 11 in relatively large quantities (700-17,000 mg total fumonisins, i.e., FB + FB + FB/kg culture material), and six at <45 mg/kg. Ten F. proliferatum strains produced >100 mg of moniliformin per kg culture material with a maximum of 8900 mg/kg culture material. All strains could use all grains for growth and toxin production, regardless of the host from which they were isolated. Isolates varied in the amount of toxin produced on each substrate, with toxin production a property of the strain and not the host from which the strain was recovered. However, the extent to which a toxin-producing phenotype could be altered by the grain on which the fungus was grown is consistent with subtle genetic × environment interactions that require a larger data set than the one presented here to rigorously identify. In conclusion, there is significant variation in the ability of strains of F. proliferatum to produce fumonisins and moniliformin on maize, sorghum and millet. If the amount of toxin produced on the various grains in this study reflects real-world settings, e.g., poor storage, then the consumers of these contaminated grains could be exposed to mycotoxin levels that greatly exceed the tolerable daily intakes.
PMID: 30826540 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]