Characterization of Fusarium verticillioides strains isolated from maize in Italy: Fumonisin production, pathogenicity and genetic variability
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Fusarium verticillioides (teleomorph Gibberella moniliformis) is the main fungal agent of ear and kernel rot of maize (Zea mays L.) worldwide, including Italy. F.verticillioides is a highly toxigenic species since it is able to produce the carcinogenic mycotoxins fumonisins. In this study, 25 F. verticillioides strains, isolated from maize in different regions of Italy were analyzed for their ability to produce fumonisins, their pathogenicity and their genetic variability. A further referenced strain of G. moniliformis isolated from maize in USA was also used as outgroup. The fumonisins B 1 , B 2 , and B 3 were analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Pathogenicity tests were carried out by symptom observation and determination of growth parameters after inoculation of maize seeds, seedlings and wounded detached leaves. Total genomic DNA was used for Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) analysis. About 20% of the analyzed strains were unable to produce fumonisins in in vitro experiments on inoculated maize flour, while, among fumonisin producers, a great variability was observed, with values ranging from 1 to 115 mg kg -1 . The different analyzed strains showed a wide range of pathogenicity in terms of effect on seed germination, seedling development and of symptoms produced on detached leaves, which were not correlated with the different in vitro fumonisin production. AFLP analysis indicated the presence of genetic diversity not only between the Italian strains and the American reference but also among the Italian isolates. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
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