<OL> <LI> Develop data for use in risk assessment of mycotoxins in human and animal health. <LI> Develop new techniques and improve current assays to identify and measure mycotoxins and mycotoxigenic fungi in cereal grains.<LI> Establish integrated strategies to manage and to prevent mycotoxin contamination in cereal grains. <LI> Define the regulation of mycotoxin biosynthesis and the molecular relationships between mycotoxigenic fungi.
Non-Technical Summary: Mycotoxins in grains are a threat to human and animal health and also pose a trade barrier for some US trading partners. Mycotoxins are an agricultural biosecurity threat. The purpose of this study is to improve detection, monitoring and risk assessment for several major mycotoxins found in US grain. In addition the project will facilitate communication among a diverse group of mycotxin experts who will be available for consultation on agricultural biosecurity issues related to mycotoxins. <P> Approach: PA, ARS will also explore the use of optical detection techniques to detect fungal contamination. This could improve the sorting of commodities thereby facilitating the removal of mycotoxins from grains. We will develop a library of spectra of different fungal cultures for differentiating different pathogenic organisms. Genetic detection techniques detect the presence of DNA of mycotoxigenic species of fungi in commodities. Such information is potentially important for monitoring the population genetics behind fungal epidemics in crops. Our goal will be to develop a library of PCR primer for both conventional and real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) and the methodology to use the primers in multiplex formats. We will focus on the fungi that produce trichothecenes, fumonisins, aflatoxins, zearalenones, ochratoxins, roquefortines and patulins. Participating members (PA, IN, WI, ARS, NE and MI) will each focus on developing the primer sets for one of the mycotoxin producers. Multiplex protocols will be developed and tested as a group effort. Instrumental techniques are essential for confirming the presence of mycotoxins in cereal grains, and for more accurate quantification of the amounts of mycotoxins present. MI, PA, ARS will continue a collaborative effort to validate new methodologies, such as chromatographic techniques, capillary electrophoresis and mass spectrometry.