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Keywords:

  • corn;
  • Fusarium;
  • fumonisin;
  • fumonisin-producing fungi;
  • multiplex PCR

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Fusarium species are common fungal contaminants of maize and a number of them can produce mycotoxin fumonisins. China is one of the largest maize producers in the world. This study investigated the contamination of maize samples from three areas in eastern China by Fusarium and fumonisin-producing fungi as well as their fumonisin-producing potential.

RESULTS: A total of 22 Fusarium strains were isolated, 19 of which were able to produce fumonisin. Among the 19 strains, 16 belonged to F. verticillioides, two to F. subglutinans and one to F. proliferatum. The majority (17/19) of the fumonisin-forming strains were high FB1 producers, which is a potential health risk for the population in these areas. Fusarium contamination in samples from the mideastern area was the most serious (11 Fusarium strains, with nine producing fumonisin, isolated from 24 samples), followed by the northeastern area (nine Fusarium strains, with all nine producing fumonisin, isolated from 21 samples) and the southeastern area (two Fusarium strains, with one producing fumonisin, isolated from 19 samples).

CONCLUSION: Although the overall levels of FBs and contamination by fumonisin-producing fungi in corn samples were not serious, the contaminating Fusarium strains possessed fairly strong toxicogenic ability and potential risk for food safety. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry