24 July 2002

WHEAT growers in the south could be hardest hit by a proposal to introduce an EU limit on the level of fusarium mycotoxins in foodstuffs, warn researchers.

Several mycotoxins are produced by common fusarium ear blight pathogens, says HAUCs Simon Edwards. The level depends principally on the weather and fungicide application at full ear emergence. "Of all the factors, region has the biggest impact on mycotoxin levels, with the souths warmer climate being preferred," he warns.

Trials monitoring the level of mycotoxin over a five-year period have already established that 80% of samples have the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) present. But only 1.4% of 300 samples tested last harvest had levels well above the proposed EU action level of 750ppb.

Researchers already know that new triazole and strobilurin fungicides have different effects. Further trials will establish how agronomic practices affect mycotoxin levels. &#42

Mycotoxin curb will hit south