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By Fusarium Mycotoxins, Prepared M. Ellin Doyle and Ph. D


Despite intensive research, efforts to control Fusarium fungal infections and prevent or eliminate the presence of its mycotoxins in foods have not met with a great deal of success. Fusaria cause diseases, such as ear rot in corn and head blight and scab in wheat, that affect growth and yield of crops and were estimated to cause a loss of a billion dollars to wheat farmers in the USA in 1993. In addition, toxins produced by these fungi can be present, particularly in grains and grain products, in human foods and animal feeds. While animals may become sick from mycotoxin-contaminated feed, Fusarium toxins are apparently not carried over into milk, meat, and eggs. At the Fifth European Fusarium Seminar, held in Hungary in August–September 1997, recent data on Fusarium infections in crops, the effects of Fusarium toxins on human and animal health, and different approaches to dealing with them were shared and discussed (1). In addition, a comprehensive, collaborative project involving investigators at a number of state universities in the north-central region of the USA has been established to explore methods to control Fusarium blight (scab) in wheat and barley and production of deoxynivalenol (DON) in these grains (2). Research areas will include: conventional and molecular approaches to plant breeding; monitoring of grain for contamination with DON and methods for post-harvest management of grain and detoxification; epidemiology and crop management to reduce the occurrence of scab; and enhancement of research and outreach information network. Although they are not the most toxic of the many Fusarium mycotoxins, fumonisins (Fm) and DON are the mos

Year: 1997
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