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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: FUNGAL ENDOPHYTES OF MAIZE: GENE PRODUCTS CONFERRING RESISTANCE TO AFLATOXIN AND FUMONISIN

Location: Bacterial Foodborne Pathogens & Mycology Research Unit

Project Number: 3620-42000-033-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Jan 19, 2006
End Date: Jan 18, 2011

Objective:
Classify and optically sort maize grain infested with common species of kernel rotting fungi and contaminated with mycotoxins. Identify and characterize gene products from Fusarium verticillioides essential to fungal competitive success that respond to chemicals from microbial constituents growing on or in corn. Discover and characterize proteins from protective endophytes of maize and novel mycoparasitic fungi that are capable of inhibiting growth of Aspergillus flavus and F. verticillioides. Provide information and germplasm that will be used by private seed companies to create corn hybrids that resist accumulation of aflatoxin. Investigate protein expression in ripening maize grains challenged by protective endophytes versus destructive pathogens. Examine the ecological role of Acremonium zeae and other protective endophytes of maize in providing effective defenses against mycotoxin producing kernel rotting fungi. Discover and characterize novel antifungal metabolites produced by mycoparasites and fungal endophytes of maize and other cereals with activity against Aspergillus and Fusarium.

Approach:
Train neural networks to classify corn kernel disease symptom expression in ‘resistant’ vs. ‘susceptible’ white or yellow maize lines infected with by different species of fungi; identify filters for detecting and rejecting mycotoxin contaminated maize grains in commercially available high speed optical sorters; identify genes that respond to maize or are required for growth on maize via analysis of the F. verticillioides Expressed Sequence Tag (EST) database and F. verticillioides genes that respond to competition via microarray analysis; obtain protein sequence information on promising mycoparasite antifungal protein candidates via MALDI-TOF MS analysis and use this information to identify and clone the corresponding genes; characterize the impact of stress on plant disease resistance gene products (PDRGPs) and F. verticillioides growth in developing maize ears; evaluate PDRGPs and F. verticillioides ear rot reactions in agronomically characterized germplasm for use as markers in ear rot resistance breeding programs; investigate the biocontrol potential of Acremonium zeae in maize cultivation; evaluate maize endophyte metabolites for their antifungal activities against Aspergillus flavus and Fusarium verticillioides as well as other biological effects relevant to agriculture or medicine. BSL-1 and risk group RG1 recertified September 3, 2009.

Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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