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Open AccessArticle

Study of Fungal Colonization of Wheat Kernels in Syria with a Focus on Fusarium Species

1
Department of Agroenvironmental Science and Technology, Alma Mater Studiorum Bologna University, viale G. Fanin 44, Bologna 40127, Italy
2
Molecular Phytopathology and Mycotoxin Research, University of Göttingen, Grisebachstrasse 6, Göttingen 37077, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(3), 5938-5951; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms14035938
Received: 27 December 2012 / Revised: 4 March 2013 / Accepted: 11 March 2013 / Published: 14 March 2013
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry)
Wheat is one of the main crops in Mediterranean countries, and its cultivation has an important role in the Syrian economy. In Syria, Fusarium head blight (FHB) has not been reported so far. Mycological analysis of 48 samples of wheat kernels collected from cultivation areas with different climatic conditions were performed in 2009 and 2010. Fungal isolates were identified at the genus level morphologically; Fusarium species were characterized morphologically and by species-specific PCR. The most frequent fungal genera found were Alternaria spp. and Cladosporium spp., with frequencies of 24.7% and 8.1%, respectively, while the frequency of Fusarium spp. was 1.5% of kernels. Most frequent Fusarium species were F. tricinctum (30% of all Fusarium isolates), F. culmorum (18%), F. equiseti (14%) and F. graminearum (13%). The mycotoxin production potential of selected Fusarium isolates was assessed by HPLC-MS analysis of rice cultures; chemotyping by PCR was carried out for comparison. All six F. graminearum strains tested produced small amounts (<3 mg/kg) of nivalenol (NIV). All ten F. culmorum strains tested produced large amounts of trichothecenes (>100 mg/kg); four strains produced NIV and six strains produced deoxynivalenol (DON) and 3-acetyl-deoxynivalenol (3Ac-DON). PCR chemotyping lead to an oversimplified picture, because all 3Ac-DON chemotype strains produced more DON than 3Ac-DON; furthermore, the strongest NIV producers produced significant amounts of DON. All tested strains of F. culmorum, F. graminearum, F. pseudograminearum (two strains) and most F. equiseti strains (five of six strains) produced zearalenone. Grains of durum wheat were more frequently colonized by Fusarium spp. than grains of soft wheat. Incidence of Fusarium spp. in irrigated fields was higher than in rainfed fields. The incidence of Fusarium strains producing mycotoxins raises concerns about the risk of Fusarium head blight to Syria and its consequences for public health. View Full-Text
Keywords: Syria; wheat kernels; Fusarium chemotypes; trichothecenes Syria; wheat kernels; Fusarium chemotypes; trichothecenes
MDPI and ACS Style

Alkadri, D.; Nipoti, P.; Döll, K.; Karlovsky, P.; Prodi, A.; Pisi, A. Study of Fungal Colonization of Wheat Kernels in Syria with a Focus on Fusarium Species. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14, 5938-5951.

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