Influence of the cultivar and nitrogen fertilisation level on the mycotoxin contamination in winter wheat

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G. Podolska
M. Bryła
A. Sułek
A. Waśkiewicz
K. Szymczyk
R. Jędrzejczak


Fusarium mycotoxins, nitrogen fertilisation, winter wheat, cultivar, accumulation of mycotoxins


Toxigenic Fusarium spp. are common pathogens of wheat and other cereals worldwide resulting in severe reductions of grain yield. Mycotoxins – secondary metabolites produced by a range of widespread fungi, including Fusarium – are capable of causing diseases in plants, animals and humans. Two research hypotheses were verified in this work, namely: (1) various wheat cultivars exhibit substantially varied resistance to Fusarium mycotoxins; and (2) large doses of nitrogen fertilisers that facilitate the development of dense cereal fields also create favourable conditions for the biosynthesis of Fusarium mycotoxins. The two nitrogen fertilisation levels tested in this work were 120 and 200 kg N/ha. The mycotoxin levels in several wheat cultivars grown during 2013-2015 in the Osiny Station, which belongs to the K?pa-Pu?awy Experimental Station in Poland, were investigated. The analysed mycotoxins included not only those commonly found in wheat but also deoxynivalenol/zearalenone derivatives and enniatins, which, even if more rarely described in the literature, may also pose a threat to food safety. Three groups were identified from the perspective of wheat susceptibility to mycotoxins biosynthesis, namely: (1) relatively resistant Astoria and Fidelius cultivars; (2) medium-susceptibility Oxal, Kepler, Forkida, and KWS Dacanto cultivars; and (3) Bamberka, Kampana and Meister cultivars, which, compared to the others, accumulated most of the mycotoxins. It was found that the majority of the investigated mycotoxins accumulated in wheat significantly more at the 200 kg N/ha nitrogen fertilising level than at the 120 kg/ha level. A preliminary statistical analysis of the acquired data revealed some correlation between the mycotoxin concentrations and both the wheat cultivar and the nitrogen fertilisation level.

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