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Fusarium fungi infect maize and cereal plants, leading not only to significant yield losses, but also to harvested produce that is contaminated with mycotoxins, and hence unsuitable for use as food or feed.
Fusarium fungi cause various diseases in grains and maize. More important than the associated yield losses is the contamination of the plants with mycotoxins. Mycotoxins in harvested crops jeopardise the health of humans and animals alike. In severe cases, the entire crop must be destroyed. In order to ensure the production of high-quality maize and cereal products, researchers at ART are studying both Fusarium infection and toxin content in harvest samples. Factors predisposing crops to infection are elucidated via an in-depth analysis of the cultivation methods used on the land where the samples are taken. In this way, cultivation methods posing a low risk of toxin contamination are developed. The results of the studies are included for further development of the Fusarium forecasting system FusaProg. To allow for early recognition of potential future dangers, ART is also investigating the variability of individual Fusarium species both in the laboratory and in the field.
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