Fusarium culmorum Produces NX-2 Toxin Simultaneously with Deoxynivalenol and 3-Acetyl-Deoxynivalenol or Nivalenol
Fusarium culmorum is a major pathogen of grain crops. Infected plants accumulate deoxynivalenol (DON), 3-acetyl-deoxynivalenol (3-ADON), or nivalenol (NIV), which are mycotoxins of the trichothecene B group. These toxins are also produced by F. graminearum species complex. New trichothecenes structurally similar to trichothecenes B but lacking the carbonyl group on C-8, designated NX toxins, were recently discovered in atypical isolates of F. graminearum from North America. Only these isolates and a few strains of a yet to be characterized Fusarium species from South Africa are known to produce NX-2 and other NX toxins. Here, we report that among 20 F. culmorum strains isolated from maize, wheat, and oat in Europe and Asia over a period of 70 years, 18 strains produced NX-2 simultaneously with 3-ADON and DON or NIV. Rice cultures of strains producing 3-ADON accumulated NX-2 in amounts corresponding to 2–8% of 3-ADON (1.2–36 mg/kg). A strain producing NIV accumulated NX-2 and NIV at comparable amounts (13.6 and 10.3 mg/kg, respectively). In F. graminearum, producers of NX-2 possess a special variant of cytochrome P450 monooxygenase encoded by TRI1 that is unable to oxidize C-8. In F. culmorum, producers and nonproducers of NX-2 possess identical TRI1; the reason for the production of NX-2 is unknown. Our results indicate that the production of NX-2 simultaneously with trichothecenes B is a common feature of F. culmorum.