17 May 2002

Hope for toxin control

NEW hope for a natural way of controlling grain mycotoxins is highlighted in the latest edition of the Arable Research Institutes Association newsletter.

Fungicides can control moderate fusarium ear blight, but do not necessarily prevent grain toxins. Now researchers at IACR Rothamsted have identified strains of non-pathogenic fungi that effectively out-compete fusarium when sprayed onto cereal ears.

"Fusarium is likely to become an increasing problem for UK cereal producers and food processors," says researcher Kim Hammond-Kosack. Grain from ears inoculated with either of the main fusarium species, F culmorum and F graminearum which appears to be increasing, contained mycotoxin well above the proposed EU limit of 0.75mg/kg.

The new fungi are said to be as effective as fungicide against visible ear blight and may even be more effective in controlling toxin production. &#42