Fumonisin Production and Bioavailability to Maize Seedlings Grown from Seeds Inoculated with Fusarium verticillioides and Grown in Natural Soils

The fungus Fusarium verticillioides infects maize and produces fumonisins. The purpose of this study was to determine the ability of F. verticillioides to produce fumonisins in synthetic and natural soils and their biological availability to maize roots. Maize seeds were inoculated with a pathogenic strain of F. verticillioides (MRC826) and planted in synthetic and three different natural soils. There were statistically significant reductions in stalk weight and root mass and increased leaf lesions in the MRC826-treated seedlings in all soil types. Fumonisins were detected in all of the soils of seedlings grown from MRC826-inoculated seeds. The fumonisin produced in the soils was biologically available to seedlings as demonstrated by the statistically significant elevation of free sphingoid bases and sphingoid base 1-phosphates in their roots. These results indicate that F. verticillioides produced fumonisins in the autoclaved synthetic and natural soils and that the fumonisin produced is biologically available on the basis of evidence of inhibition of ceramide synthase. Keywords: Fumonisin; Fusarium verticillioides; maize; seedling disease