Fusarium Research

Fusarium species composition, competitiveness and toxin production as affected by agronomic practices and weather factors

Alemayehu Getachew

Hawassa University



  • Professor Anne MarteTronsmo

Department of Plant Sciences at Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Norway


Maize is an important staple food crop in Ethiopia.It is the most productive cereal in the country and second to teff in production and area coverage(CSA, 2012). However, the crop is attacked by different types of fungal species, which have the potential and the capacity to produce mycotoxins. Maize infection with mycotoxin producing fungi and its contamination by toxins are generally influencedby agronomic practices and weather factors.Favorable temperature and water activity are crucial for mycotoxigenic fungi and mycotoxin production (Paterson and Nelson, 2009).In Ethiopia, despite the seriousness of the problem, little attention has been given and virtually no or very little climate change and agronomic factors research has been conducted upon maize mycotoxin problems.

Objectives of the proposed study

This study will focus on the influence of weather factors and agronomic practices on Fusarium species composition, competitiveness, toxin production, and effect onthe prevalence, level and type of mycotoxins that exist in maize, and their effect on infestationofmaizeinsouthern Ethiopia.

Study area and methods

The influence of weather factors and agronomic practices on maize fusaria infestation, species composition, competitiveness and toxin production will be conducted in Loka Abaya, Alaba and Ziway areas. Field surveys will be carried out in major maize producing districts. Maize grain samples will be collected from 26 districts and from 15 farmers’ fields and storages within each district. Assessments on the incidence and severity of fusarium will be conducted on 20 randomly selected plants per maize field. Grain samples collected from different areas will be subject to mycotoxin analysis using LC-MS/MS. Morphological variations among and within the Fusarium spp. from different areas will be studied based on colony characteristics and conidial morphology. AFLP analysis will be conducted to study the genetic diversity among and within the Fusariumspp. collected from different locations. In vivo and in vitro experiments will be conducted at different rario of inoculums and temperature levels to studythe competitiveness of Fusarium species.

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