DEVELOPMENT AND APPLICATION OF MOLECULAR PHYLOGENETICS OF FUNGI TO ENHANCE FOOD SAFETY AND FOOD SECURITY
Project Number: 3620-42000-038-00
Start Date: Jan 21, 2006
End Date: Jan 20, 2011
Establish a molecular evolutionary framework for understanding the genetic diversity, pathogenicity and mycotoxin potential of fusarial pathogens that cause Fusarium head blight (FHB) of wheat and barley and sudden death syndrome (SDS) of soybeans. Determine from multilocus sequence analysis the genetic diversity of Aspergillus and Pencillium species that produce ochratoxin-A, and develop rapid detection methods for these fungi using oligonucleotide probes. Develop molecular genetic methods, based on analysis of multilocus gene sequences, for rapid detection and identification of yeasts responsible for food and beverage spoilage as well as for biocontrol yeasts that are applied to fruit, vegetables and grains to ensure species safety and to determine the fate of these species in the environment.
Multiple diagnostic gene sequences will be developed for phytopathogenic and toxigenic species for molds in the genera Aspergillus, Fusarium, Penicillium and their relatives, and for food spoilage and biocontrol yeasts. The gene sequences will be used to develop population- and species- specific molecular probes for rapid detection and for understanding the genetic diversity and relationships of each group of pathogens, food spoilage and biocontrol yeasts.