A SYSTEMS APPROACH TO INTEGRATING MOLECULAR ECOPHYSIOLOGICAL DATA AND PHENOTYPIC DATA FOR A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF MYCOTOXIN CONTAMINATION
N. Magan, R. Geisen, M. Schmidt-Heydt, A. Medina, R. Parra, A. Abdel-Hadi
There has been significant interest in the impact that environmental factors have on the ecology of pre- and post- harvest mycotoxigenic moulds in staple cereals. Using a mycotoxin microarray with sub-arrays for trichothecene B, aflatoxin and fumonisins we have examined the interaction between toxin gene clusters, growth and toxin production under different environmental factors (water availability, temperature) using strains of Fusarium graminearum, As- pergillus flavus and Fusarium verticillioides. These data sets have been integrated for the first time using a mixed growth model and linking this to expression of key biosynthetic structural and regulatory genes in the biosynthetic pathways for mycotoxin production (6 TRI, 10 Afl and 9 FUM genes) to develop predictive models. This approach al- so allows the relationship between different key genes to be determined and the importance of individual genes un- der different environmental conditions to be evaluated. The models can also be used to predict the relative risk of production of these mycotoxins under different environmental conditions. This approach could have implications and benefits for the development of novel control systems as well as a better understanding of the impact that climate change may have on mycotoxin production by taking into accounts the influence of a range of key parameters.