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Fumonisin detection and analysis of potential fumonisin‐producing Fusarium spp. in asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L.) in Zhejiang Province of China

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BACKGROUND: Fumonisins are mycotoxins produced by a number of Fusarium species, including several pathogens of asparagus plants. China is one of the largest asparagus producers in the world. In this study, we analysed the contamination of fumonisins and fumonisin‐producing fungi in asparagus spear samples from Zhejiang Province, the major asparagus production province in China.

RESULTS: The asparagus did not contain a detectable level of fumonisins. However, the recovery of Fusarium in asparagus was 72.7%, including F. proliferatum (40.9%), F. oxysporum (22.7%), F. acuminatum (4.55%) and F. equesti (4.55%). A multiplex PCR targeting the internal transcribed spacer sequence (ITS), translation elongation factor 1‐α (TEF), and key biosynthetic genes FUM1 and FUM8, was used to simultaneously determine the identity and the biosynthetic ability of the fungal isolates. Fungal isolates containing the FUM genes also produced fumonisins in cultures, ranging from 28 to 4204 µg g−1. F. proliferatum was the only fumonisin‐producing Fusarium species in asparagus.

CONCLUSION: Although no fumonisin contamination was detected in asparagus in the current survey, we found that the majority of samples contained Fusarium spp. Because F. proliferatum is a high fumonisin‐producing species, potential health risks for human consumption of asparagus exist, if the appropriate environmental conditions are present for this fungus. Copyright © 2010 Society of Chemical Industry
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Keywords: Fusarium spp; asparagus; fumonisin; multiplex PCR

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 15, 2010

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