Bacteria Suppress Fusarium Mycotoxin Production In Corn

Many stored grains and legumes can be contaminated with mycotoxins from common fungi such as Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Fusarium. Mycotoxin contamination is especially common in peanuts or maize (corn) stored under wet conditions. Fusarium graminearum is a common fungus which infects ears of corn and produces the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol- also known as DON or vomittoxin.  


Walae Mousa et al. Bacterial endophytes from wild maize suppress Fusarium graminerarum in modern maize and inhibit mycotoxin accumulation. Frontiers in Plant Science. October 2015;6: Article 805,, doi:10.3389/fpls.2015.00805

Deoxynivalenol (DON) can cause many adverse health effects in humans and domestic animals including vomiting, weight loss, headaches, and neurological problems.

Endophytes are defined as microbes which inhabit plants without causing disease. A recent study of 215 maize bacterial endophytes reported that 4 bacteria were very effective in suppressing Fusarium graminearum growth in both modern maize (corn) and ancestral corn (teosinte). The four bacteria were 3 strains of Paenibacillus polymyxa and one strain of Citrobacter. Greenhouse testing in 2013 reported that treatment of maize with these 4 endophytic bacteria reduced growth of Fusarium graminearum by 59 to 84%.

DON contamination in the maize grain was reduced by an average of 97% in the corn strains treated with the 4 endophytic bacteria. More research is needed to develop bacteria that can reduced fungal and mycotoxin contamination in grain.



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