Food Safety Research Information Office
Title:Genetic Control of Fusarium Mycotoxins to Enhance Food Safety
Objective:

The overall goal of this research project is to enhance food safety by developing methods to reduce levels of trichothecenes and other mycotoxins that occur in grain crops as a result of infection by Fusarium graminearum (sexual stage, Gibberella zeae) and related trichothecene-producing species of Fusarium. FHB is a world-wide threat to grain producers and consumers, due to the loss in yield and to the presence of trichothecenes and other mycotoxins in the grain. As the world’s population continues to increase, the need to reduce mycotoxins in grain will increase. Development of methods to reduce mycotoxin contamination in grain will be enhanced through elucidation of the molecular genetic mechanisms that control mycotoxin production in F. graminearum and related fusaria, that control plant-fungal interactions, and that detoxify or otherwise modify mycotoxins. The objectives and proposed research are as follows:

Objective 1: Identify and characterize mycotoxin detoxification genes as a mechanism to reduce/eliminate the toxins in grain-based food and feed;

Objective 2: Determine the genetic bases and ecological significance of variation in types of trichothecene mycotoxins produced by Fusarium;

Objective 3: Identify and characterize plant genes that affect biosynthesis of trichothecenes and other mycotoxins produced by Fusarium.

More Info:
Approach: With a growing world population, access to safe food for all consumers, both domestic and international, will continue to be a global priority. In recent years, the world has experienced an increase in mycotoxin contamination of grains due to climatic and agronomic changes that encourage fungal growth during cultivation. One approach to reduce mycotoxin contamination of food and feed is to prevent preharvest infection of crop plants by mycotoxin-producing fungi. An alternative approach is to modify mycotoxins present in crops in order to render them nontoxic and safe for consumption by humans and animals. Fusarium head blight (FHB) is one of the most important diseases of wheat and other cereal grains worldwide. It reduces yield and quality and results in contamination of grain with trichothecene mycotoxins. The disease is caused by Fusarium graminearum as well as other trichothecene-producing species of Fusarium. The primary goal of the proposed research is to reduce levels of trichothecenes and other mycotoxins through studies that reveal how plants, the fungus Fusarium, and mycotoxins interact during infection. We expect to identify novel genes that modify, detoxify, or otherwise confer resistance to mycotoxins and to study the physiological and molecular role of mycotoxin production on the ability of Fusarium to infect wheat and other crops. We also will examine the genetic bases and ecological significance of variation in types of mycotoxins produced by Fusarium. Knowledge from these studies will contribute to development of strategies to control FHB, thereby protecting our food supply from mycotoxins. This technology will ultimately benefit other scientists, small grain breeders, stakeholders in the food and feed industry, and regulatory agencies such as the Center for Disease Control, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Federal Grain Inspection Service, and Food Safety Inspection Service.
Funding Source:United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
Type:Appropriated
Start Date:2011
End Date:2016
Project Number:3620-42000-042-00
Accession Number:421045
Institutions:USDA/ARS - Midwest Area
Investigators:Alexander, Nancy
Busman, Mark
McCormick, Sheila
Proctor, Robert
Published Journal
Articles USDA
ARS (NP 108):
The arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus, Glomus irregulare, controls the mycotoxin production of Fusarium sambucinum in the pathogenesis of potato
Ismail Y, Mccormick SP, Hijri M.
FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2013 Nov;348(1):46-51.
Functional roles of FgLaeA in controlling secondary metabolism, sexual development, and virulence in Fusarium graminearum
Kim H, Lee S, Jo S, Mccormick SP, Butchko R, Proctor R, Yun S .
PLoS One. 2013 Jul 16;8(7):e68441.
Microbial detoxification of mycotoxins
McCormick SP.
J Chem Ecol. 2013 Jul;39(7):907-18.
Relevance of trichothecenes in fungal physiology: Disruption of tri5 in Trichoderma arundinaceum
Malmierca MG, Cardoza R, Alexander NJ, Mccormick SP, Collado IG, Hermosa R, Monte E, Gutierrez S .
Fungal Genet Biol. 2013 Apr;53:22-33.
Greenhouse studies reveal increased aggressiveness of emergent Canadian Fusarium graminearum chemotypes in wheat
Foroud NA, McCormick SP, MacMillan T, Badea A, Kendra DF, Ellis BE, Eudes F.
Plant Disease. 2013 Jan;35(1):37-45.
Glucosylation and other biotransformations of T-2 toxin by yeasts of the Trichomonascus clade
McCormick SP, Price NP, Kurtzman CP.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2012 Dec;78(24):8694-702.
Transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana expressing a barley UDP-glucosyltransferase exhibit resistance to the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol
Shin S, Torres-Acosta JA, Heinen SJ, McCormick S, Lemmens M, Paris MP, Berthiller F, Adam G, Muehlbauer GJ.
J Exp Bot. 2012 Aug;63(13):4731-40.
Involvement of Trichoderma trichothecenes in the biocontrol activity and induction of plant defense-related genes
Malmierca MG, Cardoza RE, Alexander NJ, McCormick SP, Hermosa R, Monte E, Gutiérrez S.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2012 Jul;78(14):4856-68.
Trichothecene mycotoxins inhibit mitochondrial translation--implication for the mechanism of toxicity
Bin-Umer MA, McLaughlin JE, Basu D, McCormick S, Tumer NE.
Toxins. 2011 Dec;3(12):1484-501.
Trichothecenes: from simple to complex mycotoxins
McCormick SP, Stanley AM, Stover NA, Alexander NJ.
Toxins. 2011 Jul;3(7):802-14.
Non-journal publications:
Lipid transfer protein-mediated resistance to a trichothecene mycotoxin – Novel players in FHB resistance - (Abstract Only)
Accepted Publication (06-Dec-12)
Developing Fusarium head blight resistant wheat - (Abstract Only)
Accepted Publication (06-Dec-12)
The role of trichothecenes in the Triticeae-Fusarium graminearum interactions - (Abstract Only)
Muehlbauer, G.J., Boddu, J., Gardiner, S., Shin, S., Jia, H., Cho, S., Mccormick, S.P., Schweiger, W., Lemmons, M., Berthiller, F., Hametner, C., Kovalsky Paris, P.M., Torres-Acosta, J.A., Adam, G. 2012. The role of trichothecenes in the Triticeae-Fusarium graminearum interactions. American Phytopathological Society Abstracts.
Identifying and characterizing barley genes that protect against trichothecenes - (Abstract Only)
Shin, S., Torres-Acosta, A., Lemmens, M., Paris, P., Berthiller, F., Adam, G., Mccormick, S.P., Muehlbauer, G.J. 2011. Identifying and characterizing barley genes that protect against trichothecenes. National Fusarium Head Blight Forum Proceedings. Session3,p.96.
An activation tagging screen to identify novel genes for Fusarium head blight (FHB) resistance - (Abstract Only)
Mclaughlin, J., Bin Umer, A., Basu, D., Mccormick, S.P., Tumer, N.E. 2011. An activation tagging screen to identify novel genes for Fusarium head blight (FHB) resistance. National Fusarium Head Blight Forum Proceedings. Session3,p.90.
Trichothecene mycotoxins inhibit mitochondrial translation- Implication for FHB resistance - (Abstract Only)
Bin-Umer, M.A., Mclaughlin, J., Basu, D., Mccormick, S.P., Tumer, N.E. 2011. Trichothecene mycotoxins inhibit mitochondrial translation- Implication for FHB resistance. National Fusarium Head Blight Forum Proceedings. Session3,p.81.
Identification of a trichothecene gene cluster and description of the harzianum A biosynthesis pathway in the fungus Trichoderma arundinaceum - (Abstract Only)
Malmierca, M.G., Hermosa, R., Alexander, N.J., Mccormick, S.P., Proctor, R., Rumbero, A., Monte, E., Gutierrez, S., Cardoza, R.E. 2011. Identification of a trichothecene gene cluster and description of the harzianum A biosynthesis pathway in the fungus Trichoderma arundinaceum. Meeting Abstract. PS6:51.
Identifying and characterizing barley genes that protect against trichothecene mycotoxins - (Abstract Only)
Shin, S., Torres Acosta, A., Berthiller, F., Schweiger, W., Adam, G., Mccormick, S.P., Muehlbauer, G. 2011. Identifying and characterizing barley genes that protect against trichothecene mycotoxins. Meeting Abstract.
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