Fusarium Species and Their Associated Mycotoxins
Methods in molecular biology, January 2017
Gary P. Munkvold, Munkvold, Gary P.
The genus Fusarium includes numerous toxigenic species that are pathogenic to plants or humans, and are able to colonize a wide range of environments on earth. The genus comprises around 70 well-known species, identified by using a polyphasic approach, and as many as 300 putative species, according to phylogenetic species concepts; many putative species do not yet have formal names. Fusarium is one of the most economically important fungal genera because of yield loss due to plant pathogenic activity; mycotoxin contamination of food and feed products which often render them unaccep for marketing; and health impacts to humans and livestock, due to consumption of mycotoxins. Among the most important mycotoxins produced by species of Fusarium are the trichothecenes and the fumonisins. Fumonisins cause fatal livestock diseases and are considered potentially carcinogenic mycotoxins for humans, while trichothecenes are potent inhibitors of protein synthesis. This chapter summarizes the main aspects of morphology, pathology, and toxigenicity of the main Fusarium species that colonize different agricultural crops and environments worldwide, and cause mycotoxin contamination of food and feed.
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