Wheat grains are well known to be invaded by Fusarium spp. under field and storage conditions and contaminated with fumonisins. Therefore, determining Fusarium spp. and fumonisins in wheat grains is of prime importance to develop suitable management strategies and to minimize risk. Eighty-two stored wheat samples produced in Iran were collected from various supermarkets and tested for the presence of Fusarium spp. by agar plate assay and fumonisins by HPLC. A total of 386 Fusarium strains were isolated and identified through morphological characteristics. All these strains belonged to F. culmorum, F. graminearum, F. proliferatum and F.verticillioides. Of the Fusarium species, F. graminearum was the most prevalent species, followed by F. verticillioides, F. proliferatum and then F. culmorum. Natural occurrence of fumonisin B1 (FB1) could be detected in 56 (68.2%) samples ranging from 15-155 μg/kg, fumonisin B2 (FB2) in 35 (42.6%) samples ranging from 12-86 μg/kg and fumonisin B3 (FB3) in 26 (31.7%) samples ranging from 13-64 μg/kg. The highest FB1 levels were detected in samples from Eilam (up to 155 μg/kg) and FB2 and FB3 in samples from Gilan Gharb (up to 86 μg/kg and 64 μg/kg).
Keywords: Fusarium spp.; Iran; fumonisins; wheat.