Submitted to: Mycopathologia
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/27/2004
Publication Date: 11/1/2004
Citation: Dowd, P.F., Barnet, C.J., Johnson, E.T., Beck, J.J. 2005. Leaf axil sampling of Midwest U.S. maize for mycotoxigenic Fusarium fungi using PCR analysis. Mycopathologia. 258:431-440. Interpretive Summary: Ear mold toxins cause hundreds of millions of dollars in losses to U.S. corn each year. Management strategies have been developed for this problem, but a rapid sampling method to detect the responsible fungi is needed. Samples of different corn plant tissues at ear development obtained from several commercial fields over a 4-year period indicated leaf axil material can be used to readily detect mycotoxin-producing Fusarium species using the polymerase chain reaction. This method should be useful for monitoring harmful fungi so that management strategies can be implemented when appropriate, thereby increasing the quality and exportability of U.S. corn.
Technical Abstract: PCR analysis was used to detect Fusarium molds, including the mycotoxin-producing species F. subglutinans, F. proliferatum, and F. verticillioides in leaf axil and other maize tissues during ear fill in a multi-year study in Central Illinois. The frequency and quantity of Fusarium detected varied from site to site and year to year. Fusarium was more frequently detected in leaf axil material than in leaf/husk lesions. In two growing seasons, the leaf axil samples were also tested for the presence of the mycotoxin-producing species Fusarium proliferatum, Fusarium subglutinans, and Fusarium verticillioides. Overall, F. proliferatum and F. verticillioides were detected less often than F. subglutinans. Fusarium was most commonly detected where visible mold was present in leaf axil material.