Sustainable mycotoxin management in cereals


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Dr. Susanne Vogelgsang, Senior Scientist at Agroscope in Zurich, Switzerland.

Fusarium head blight (FHB) is one of the world’s most noxious cereal diseases. To develop prevention strategies, 686 wheat grain samples and information on their cropping history were obtained from Swiss growers over eight years. Grains were examined for Fusarium species incidence, mycotoxin content, the abundance of F. graminearum (FG) and F. poae (FP) DNA and three chemotypes. Deoxynivalenol (DON), zearalenone (ZEA) and nivalenol (NIV) were the most frequently detected toxins. For DON, 11% and for ZEA, 7% of all samples exceeded the European maximum limits for unprocessed cereals. A multiple correspondence analysis revealed that high levels of FG, DON and ZEA were mainly observed in samples from fields with previous crop maize, reduced tillage, cultivars with poor FHB resistance and strobilurin-based fungicides. Other previous crops and/or ploughing decreased the DON content by 78 to 95%. In contrast, high levels of FP and NIV were associated with samples from ploughed fields and previous crop canola. These findings and the negative correlations between FP DNA, FG incidence and DON suggest a different ecological niche for FP. For growers that depend on a maize-wheat rotation, supplementary strategies are needed. The antagonist Clonostachys rosea applied onto crop residues appears to be highly promising. Furthermore, inter and cover crops in maize-wheat rotations and biofumigation could reduce FG inoculum through physical barriers or through antifungal properties.


Dr. Susanne Vogelgsang obtained a BSc in Agrobiology from the University of Hohenheim, Germany in 1994, and a PhD in Plant Science from McGill University, Canada in 1998. As of 2003, she worked as a Senior Scientist at Agroscope in Zurich, Switzerland, and since 2011, she is head of the Agroscope research group "Ecological Plant Protection in Arable Crops".