Composition and toxigenic potential of theFusarium graminearumspecies complex from maize ears, stalks and stubble in Brazil

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Abstract

A large collection (n = 539) of Fusarium graminearum species complex (FGSC) isolates was obtained from Brazilian maize, and collections formed according to geography and maize part: (i) kernel (n = 110) from south and south-central Brazil; (ii) stalk (n = 134) from Paraná state (south); and (iii) stubble (n = 295) from Rio Grande do Sul state (south). Species composition, identified using a multilocus genotype approach, was assessed separately in each collection due to differences in geographic sampling. Overall, three species were found: F. meridionale (Fmer; 67% prevalence) with the nivalenol (NIV) genotype, F. graminearum (Fgra; 19%) with the 15-acetyl (A) deoxynivalenol (DON) genotype, and F. cortaderiae (Fcor; 14%) with the NIV (49/74) or the 3-ADON (25/74) genotype. In kernels, Fmer was spread across all locations and Fgra and Fcor were found mostly at high elevation (>800 m a.s.l.). The majority (97·8%) of stalk isolates was assigned to Fmer; three were assigned to Fgra. In the stubble, Fmer was less dominant (53%), with a shift towards Fcor as the most frequent species at high elevation sites (>600 m a.s.l.). No differences in the mycelial growth rate were observed among isolates from each species grown at 15°C. Fgra grew faster at 25°C and Fmer showed the widest range of variation across the isolates at both temperatures. The survey data suggest that Fmer may outcompete other species on ears and stalks in comparison to stubble. Additional sampling that controls for other factors, as well as direct testing of aggressiveness on ears and stalk tissue, will be needed to fully evaluate this hypothesis.

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