Submitted to: Aflatoxin Elimination Workshop Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 16, 2006
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Fusarium verticillioides is one of the most important world wide pathogens of maize, causing yield loss as well as health problems for livestock and humans through the ingestion of fumonisin contaminated grain. Of particular concern is the ability of F. verticillioides to establish an asymptomatic endophytic relationship with the host plant and the potential contamination of visually healthy corn with fumonisins. The lack of understanding of the dynamics of the endophytic relationship is a limiting factor in implementing effective control strategies. Current methods for studying the host-pathogen relationship are tedious, time consuming, and not very sensitive. We describe a reproducible and highly sensitive real-time PCR method to detect and quantify F. verticillioides in various tissues of corn during plant development from the seedling stage to ear development. Four independent standard curves had a reproducible titration of F. verticillioides genomic DNA from 40 ng to 2.56 pg. In some cases, the sensitivity could be increased 5-fold to 0.512 pg. Using our method, we confirm the results of others on the ability of F. verticillioides to colonize root, stem, and leaf tissue of seedlings. In addition, we show that seed infection can be a route to colonization of stalk and ear tissue of more mature plants.