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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Improviing Resistance to Fumonisin Contamination in Maize

Authors
item Starr, M - NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIV
item Robertson-Hoyt, L - NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIV
item Payne, G - NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIV
item Holland, Jim

Submitted to: Illinois Corn Breeders School Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 16, 2006
Publication Date: March 8, 2006
Citation: Starr, M.R., Robertson-Hoyt, L.A., Payne, G.A., Holland, J.B. 2006. Improviing resistance to fumonisin contamination in maize. Illinois Corn Breeders School Proceedings.

Interpretive Summary: Fusarium ear rot disease is prevalent in the southern United States and the causal fungis, F. verticillioides, can be found in grain or crop residue of virtually all mature corn fields in the United States. High levels of resistance are not present in commercial hybrid corn. Fusarium ear rot is of particular concern because the fungi that cause the ear rot can also produce mycotoxins called fumonisins that contaminate corn grain and are suspected of being carcinogens. Research and breeding efforts aimed at improving resistance to Fusarium ear rot and contamination by fumonisins have made substantial progress in the past ten years by developing methods to accurately measure Fusarium ear rot and fumonisin concentrations, identifyng sources of resistance, and characterizing the inheritance of ear rot and fumonisin accumulation. Recently, quantitative trait loci (QTLs) have been identified for both resistance to ear rot, and resistance to accumulation of fumonisin. Techniques to ensure accurate phenotyping of Fusarium ear rot and fumonisin contamination have been developed and validated, and DNA marker technologies have matured and become economically feasible for some DNA marker-assisted selection programs. We consider the application of these two approaches (which are not exclusive) to breeding for reducing susceptibility to Fusarium ear rot and fumonisin contamination.

Technical Abstract: Fusarium ear rot disease is prevalent in the warm, dry conditions, common in the southern United States and lowland tropics. However, F. verticillioides can be found in grain or crop residue of virtually all mature corn fields in the United States, and high levels of resistance are not present in commercial hybrid corn. Fusarium ear rot is of particular concern because F. verticillioides and the related fungus, F. proliferatum, can produce mycotoxins called fumonisins that contaminate corn grain and are suspected of being carcinogens. Research and breeding efforts aimed at improving resistance to these two aspects of the disease have focused on accurately measuring Fusarium ear rot and fumonisin concentrations, identifying sources of resistance, and characterizing the inheritance of ear rot and fumonisin accumulation. Recently, quantitative trait loci (QTLs) have been identified for both resistance to ear rot, and resistance to accumulation of fumonisin. Techniques to ensure accurate phenotyping of Fusarium ear rot and fumonisin contamination have been developed and validated, and DNA marker technologies have matured and become economically feasible for some DNA marker-assisted selection programs. We consider the application of these two approaches (which are not exclusive) to breeding for reducing susceptibility to Fusarium ear rot and fumonisin contamination.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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