The overall goal is to identify mitigation strategies to prevent preharvest DON/NIV production by F. graminearum in wheat, corn, and potatoes based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles. The proposed research will establish a baseline to monitor 3ADON/ 15ADON/NIV chemotypes in corn, identify the potential risk of trichothecene mycotoxin contamination in potatoes and evaluate the current chemotype shift in wheat in Ontario The research simultaneously helps Ontario Food Safety Programs to better understand toxin risks while improving the tools and strategies that corn and wheat producers use to reduce toxin accumulation in grains. The specific objectives are:
<OL> <LI> Use molecular genotyping tools to compare the dynamics in population structure and mycotoxin diversity of F. graminearum from corn, wheat and potatoes in Ontario and other provinces of Canada
<LI> Assess the influence of weather variables, space, time and cropping practices in frequency distribution of 3ADON, 15ADON and NIV producing isolates and their impact on DON or NIV production in corn and wheat grains.
<LI> Use F. graminearum molecular chemotyping as a complimentary tool to improve the existing preharvest DON predicting model (DONcast) in wheat and to advance the forecasting model to predict preharvest DON production in corn
The project will connect researchers and beneficiaries (food and feed industries, and Ontario food safety program) with baseline data to develop mitigation strategies for the reduction of pre-harvest myctoxin contamination in corn, wheat and potatoes. The study will support development of mycotoxin resistant cultivars, improved crop rotation practices, more effective fungicide management decisions and better seed trade policies among the provinces of Canada. The presence of diversified strains with different toxigenic potentials within Fg in wheat and corns greatly complicates risk forecasting. Understanding the relationships between environment, chemotype distribution, and trichothecene accumulations in grains advances the DON forecasting tools leading to reduced toxin loading in Ontario's food chain