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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #406915

Research Project: Innovative Food and Feed Safety Research to Eliminate Mycotoxin Contamination in Corn and other Crops

Location: Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research

Title: Does alteration of fumonisin production in Fusarium verticillioides lead to volatolome variation?

item JOSSELIN, LAURIE - Gembloux Agricultural University
item Proctor, Robert
item LIPPOLIS, VINCENZO - National Research Council - Italy
item CERVELLIERI, SALVATORE - National Research Council - Italy
item HOYLAERTS, JEFFREY - Gembloux Agricultural University
item DE CLERCK, CAROLINE - Gembloux Agricultural University
item FAUCONNIER, MARIE-LAURE - Gembloux Agricultural University
item MORETTI, ANTONIO - National Research Council - Italy

Submitted to: Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/13/2023
Publication Date: 11/15/2023
Citation: Josselin, L., Proctor, R.H., Lippolis, V., Cervellieri, S., Hoylaerts, J., De Clerck, C., Fauconnier, M.-L., Moretti, A. 2023. Does alteration of fumonisin production in Fusarium verticillioides lead to volatolome variation? Food Chemistry. 438. Article 138004.

Interpretive Summary: Fumonisins are a group of fungal toxins that frequently contaminate corn. They pose health hazards to humans, livestock, and pets. As a result, fumonisins contribute to the estimated losses of $0.5 – 5 billion to U.S. and Canadian agriculture caused by fungal toxins each year. Fungi also produce numerous volatile compounds that have potential for use as diagnostic tools to detect the presence of toxin-producing fungi in crops. Therefore, researchers at Liege University in Belgium, the National Research Council in Italy, and ARS in Peoria, IL, examined volatile compounds produced by strains of the fungus Fusarium verticillioides, which is the predominant cause of fumonisin contamination in corn. The researchers used state-of-the-art chemical analyses to identify 75 volatile compounds produced by the strains. They also found that some of the compounds were only produced by fumonisin-producing strains of the fungus, while other compounds were only produced by fumonisin-nonproducing strains. These results provide fundamental information on the production of volatile compounds by F. verticillioides. This information is necessary for development of volatile-compound-based diagnostic tools for detection of toxin-producing fungi in crops. Such tools are necessary to reduce the presence of harmful toxins in food and feed crops.

Technical Abstract: The maize pathogen Fusarium verticillioides is the most prominent cause of contamination of maize with fumonisins, one of the mycotoxin families of most concern to food and feed safety. We compared emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by a wild-type, fumonisin-producing strain of F. verticillioides and two mutants of the fungus that were blocked at different steps in the fumonisin biosynthetic pathway. The mutants emitted a higher number of VOCs than the wild type and accumulated a purple pigment in maize kernel cultures. In addition, we identified an association between specific VOCs and the absence of fumonisin production in the mutants, notably the constant emission of ethyl 3-methylbutanoate. Furthermore, this volatile inhibited growth and fumonisin production in wild-type F. verticillioides.