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Mycotoxins in a Changing World

Kuldau, Gretchen
Pennsylvania State University
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(1) Objective 1: Develop data for use in risk assessment of mycotoxins in human and animal health. a) Perform surveys of food and feed for presence of mycotoxins and characterize the fungi that are responsible for contamination. b) Determine sources of exposure for human and animal populations exhibiting symptoms of mycotoxin intoxication. c) Utilize model systems to evaluate toxicity and identify biochemical pathways and genes expressed in response to mycotoxin exposure. (2) Objective 2: Establish integrative strategies to reduce mycotoxin contamination in food and feed. a) Engineer plants to detoxify mycotoxins or limit infection by mycotoxigenic fungi. b) Leverage breeding nurseries and experimental approaches for evaluation of mycotoxin resistant germplasm. c) Identify and test microbe-based approaches to reducing in-field mycotoxin contamination. (3) Objective 3: Increase understanding of internal and external factors related to the biology and ecology of mycotoxigenic fungi that determine mycotoxin production potential and outcomes. a) Identify fungal genetic factors determining mycotoxin production including evaluation of epigenetic factors, genes outside of the mycotoxin biosynthetic gene clusters, and using multiple fungal genotypes. b) Assess the role of abiotic factors such as water activity and temperature on mycotoxin production. c) Evaluate the role of microbe-microbe interactions, and host microbiome context on mycotoxin production.
Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
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Natural Toxins
Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication