Fumonisin Production in Corn by Toxigenic Strains of Fusarium moniliforme and Fusarium proliferatum

J Food Prot. 1994 Jun;57(6):514-521. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X-57.6.514.


The fungi Fusarium moniliforme Sheldon and Fusarium proliferatum (Matsushima) Nirenberg produce a series of toxins on corn which include the fumonisins of which fumonisin B1 and B2 are considered to have cancer promoting activity. Both fungi produce similar ratios of the fumonisins B1 to B2. Other mycotoxins produced include moniliformin, fusarin C and fusaric acid. Fumonisin B1 has been shown to be responsible for most of the toxicological affects observed from ingesting corn infected by toxigenic isolates of these fungi. The distribution of the two fungi is generally similar, although F. proliferatum is isolated more frequently from sorghum than corn. They occur worldwide on other food crops, such as rice, sorghum, millet, several fruits and vegetables. Both fungi are ear rot pathogens of corn, thus, mycotoxin production occurs under field conditions, although it also may occur in storage. One or both fungi may have a frequency of occurrence of 90% or higher in corn; 90% of the F. moniliforme isolates produce the fumonisins. On corn and corn products the range of concentrations reported is 0.3 to 330 μg/g of corn-based product. These concentrations include both corn-based animal feed and human foods.

Keywords: Mycotoxins; fumonisin B; toxic corn; toxic fungi.