Each year samples of barley and oats from fields of known agronomy will be collected and analysed for ten trichothecenes including deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone. The mycotoxin content will be modelled against the agronomic practices applied to each field to identify the impact of each agronomic factor (e.g. variety, crop rotation, land cultivation and fungicide application).
Fusarium mycotoxins are produced on cereal grains by many Fusarium species during fusarium ear blight infection. The most important ear blight pathogens are F. graminearum and F. culmorum which produce deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone and result in the contamination of grain with mycotoxins.
Grain contamination is dependent on a number of agronomic factors and the main aim of this project is to determine the effects of these factors on the level of fusarium contamination in barley and oat samples. The factors to be investigated include grain variety, cultivation methods, application of fungicides, crop rotation and growing region. In addition the difference in fusarium contamination of grain grown under organic and conventional production methods will be determined.
Results from the completed project will be used to advise growers on Good Agricultural Practice to reduce fusarium mycotoxins during barley and oat production, in advance of the European Commission setting limits for fusarium toxins in cereals and cereal products.
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/" target="_blank">Food
Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.