Abstract: Fungi belonging to the genus Alternaria are common pathogens of fruit and vegetables with some species able to produce secondary metabolites dangerous to human health. Twenty-eight Alternaria isolates from rocket and cabbage were investigated for their mycotoxin production. Five different Alternaria toxins were extracted from synthetic liquid media and from plant material (cabbage, cultivated rocket, cauliflower). A modified Czapek-Dox medium was used for the in vitro assay. Under these conditions, more than 80% of the isolates showed the ability to produce at least one mycotoxin, generally with higher levels for tenuazonic acid. However, the same isolates analyzed in vivo seemed to lose their ability to produce tenuazonic acid. For the other mycotoxins; alternariol, alternariol monomethyl ether, altenuene and tentoxin a good correlation between in vitro and in vivo production was observed. In vitro assay is a useful tool to predict the possible mycotoxin contamination under field and greenhouse conditions.
Abstract: A total of 122 wheat varieties obtained from the Nordic Genetic Resource Center were infected artificially with an aggressive Fusariumasiaticum strain in a field experiment. We calculated the severity of Fusarium head blight (FHB) and determined the deoxynivalenol (DON) content of wheat grain, straw and glumes. We found DON contamination levels to be highest in the glumes, intermediate in the straw, and lowest in the grain in most samples. The DON contamination levels did not increase consistently with increased FHB incidence. The DON levels in the wheat varieties with high FHB resistance were not necessarily low, and those in the wheat varieties with high FHB sensitivity were not necessarily high. We selected 50 wheat genotypes with reduced DON content for future research. This study will be helpful in breeding new wheat varieties with low levels of DON accumulation.
Abstract: Survival among hemodialysis patients is disturbingly low, partly because vascular calcification (VC) and cardiovascular disease are highly prevalent. Elevated serum phosphorus (P) and calcium (Ca) levels play an essential role in the formation of VC events. The purpose of the current study was to reveal optical monitoring possibilities of serum P and Ca values during dialysis. Twenty-eight patients from Tallinn (Estonia) and Linköping (Sweden) were included in the study. The serum levels of Ca and P on the basis of optical information, i.e., absorbance and fluorescence of the spent dialysate (optical method) were assessed. Obtained levels were compared in means and SD. The mean serum level of Ca was 2.54 ± 0.21 and 2.53 ± 0.19 mmol/L; P levels varied between 1.08 ± 0.51 and 1.08 ± 0.48 mmol/L, measured in the laboratory and estimated by the optical method respectively. The levels achieved were not significantly different (p = 0.5). The Bland-Altman 95% limits of agreement between the two methods varied from −0.19 to 0.19 for Ca and from −0.37 to 0.37 in the case of P. In conclusion, optical monitoring of the spent dialysate for assessing the serum levels of Ca and P during dialysis seems to be feasible and could offer valuable and continuous information to medical staff.
Abstract: A duplicate diet study was designed to explore the occurrence of 15 Fusarium mycotoxins in the 24 h-diet consumed by one volunteer as well as the levels of mycotoxins in his 24 h-collected urine. The employed methodology involved solvent extraction at high ionic strength followed by dispersive solid phase extraction and gas chromatography determination coupled to mass spectrometry in tandem. Satisfactory results in method performance were achieved. The method’s accuracy was in a range of 68%–108%, with intra-day relative standard deviation and inter-day relative standard deviation lower than 12% and 15%, respectively. The limits of quantitation ranged from 0.1 to 8 µg/Kg. The matrix effect was evaluated and matrix-matched calibrations were used for quantitation. Only deoxynivalenol (DON) was quantified in both food and urine samples. A total DON daily intake amounted to 49.2 ± 5.6 µg whereas DON daily excretion of 35.2 ± 4.3 µg was determined. DON daily intake represented 68.3% of the established DON provisional maximum tolerable daily intake (PMTDI). Valuable preliminary information was obtained as regards DON excretion and needs to be confirmed in large-scale monitoring studies.
Abstract: Centipedes are among the oldest extant venomous predators on the planet. Armed with a pair of modified, venom-bearing limbs, they are an important group of predatory arthropods and are infamous for their ability to deliver painful stings. Despite this, very little is known about centipede venom and its composition. Advances in analytical tools, however, have recently provided the first detailed insights into the composition and evolution of centipede venoms. This has revealed that centipede venom proteins are highly diverse, with 61 phylogenetically distinct venom protein and peptide families. A number of these have been convergently recruited into the venoms of other animals, providing valuable information on potential underlying causes of the occasionally serious complications arising from human centipede envenomations. However, the majority of venom protein and peptide families bear no resemblance to any characterised protein or peptide family, highlighting the novelty of centipede venoms. This review highlights recent discoveries and summarises the current state of knowledge on the fascinating venom system of centipedes.
Abstract: Ergot is a disease of cereals and grasses caused by fungi in the genus Claviceps.Of particular concern are Claviceps purpurea in temperate regions, C. africana in sorghum (worldwide), and C. fusiformis in pearl millet (Africa, Asia). The fungi infect young, usually unfertilized ovaries, replacing the seeds by dark mycelial masses known as sclerotia. The percentage of sclerotia in marketable grain is strictly regulated in many countries. In winter rye, ergot has been known in Europe since the early Middle Ages. The alkaloids produced by the fungus severely affect the health of humans and warm-blooded animals. In sorghum and pearl millet, ergot became a problem when growers adopted hybrid technology, which increased host susceptibility. Plant traits reducing ergot infection include immediate pollination of receptive stigmas, closed flowering (cleistogamy), and physiological resistance. Genetic, nonpollen-mediated variation in ergot susceptibility could be demonstrated in all three affected cereals. Fungicides have limited efficacy and application is weather dependent. Sorting out the sclerotia from the harvest by photocells is expensive and time consuming. In conclusion, molecular-based hybrid rye breeding could improve pollen fertility by introgressing effective restorer genes thus bringing down the ergot infection level to that of conventional population cultivars. A further reduction might be feasible in the future by selecting more resistant germplasm.