Fusarium and Fusarium–Cereal Interactions


The genus Fusarium currently includes over 80 species. This number is increasing as studies based upon deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequence comparison become more common. The majority of Fusarium species are associated with plants and many are important plant pathogens. This review introduces the species of greatest significance with respect to cereal crops. As well as causing significant yield loss, many of the species produce a range of secondary metabolites (mycotoxins) that are harmful to human and animal consumers. Studies are unravelling the genetics of mycotoxin biosynthesis and regulation but work is still required to understand the role of these compounds in the life cycle of the producing fungi.

Key concepts

  • Introduction to fungal diversity in relation to the Fusarium genus and its relationship to cereal crops.

  • Species concepts: morphological, biological and phylogenetic.

  • Genetic basis of mycotoxin biosynthesis.

  • Role of mycotoxins and other secondary metabolites in plant–pathogen interaction.

Keywords: Gibberella; deoxynivalenol; trichothecene; fumonisin; zearalenone

Figure 1.

Fusarium head blight (FHB). (a) Symptoms of FHB on wheat. (b) Comparison of uninfected grain and Fusarium‐infected grain. (c) Structure of deoxynivalenol (DON).



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Further Reading

Magan N and Olsen M (eds) (2004) Mycotoxins in Food: Detection and control. Cambridge, England: CRC Press, Woodhead Publishing Limited.

Summerell BA, Leslie JF, Backhouse D, Bryden WL and Burgess LW (eds) (2001) Fusarium: Paul E. Nelson Memorial Symposium. St. Paul, MN: The American Phytopathology Society Press.

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How to Cite close
Nicholson, Paul(Mar 2009) Fusarium and Fusarium–Cereal Interactions. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0021266]