A research study was conducted to identify and characterise seed-borne fungal pathogens associated with maize (Zea mays L.) in storage. Seed-borne fungal pathogenic infections of maize were studied using seed samples collected from Gokwe South District in Zimbabwe. The agar plating method using PDA medium was used to detect fungal pathogens on the maize seeds. A total of 150 treatments were used for this experiment, which were replicated three times in a randomised complete block design (RCBD). Analysis of the grain showed the presence of Fusarium moniliforme, Rhizopus stolonifer, Penicillium citrinum, and mostly Aspergillus species, namely, Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus parasiticus, Aspergillus niger, and Aspergillus tamarii. Significant differences (p < 0.05) between treatments were detected for the pathogens. A total of ten samples were used for mycotoxin determination, and all of them were 100% positive with aflatoxin total, zearalenone, fumonisin, and deoxynivalenol (DON) having an average of 0.255 ppb, 2.425 ppb, 2.65 ppb, and 0.07 ppb, respectively. The present study showed that most grain samples are contaminated with different species of fungi with mycotoxigenic potential. The data on the diversity and magnitude of pathogen infection by fungal species will have a significant effect even at the regional level for predicting the extent of pre- and postinfections. Measures to reduce mycotoxin contamination are needed for maize grains.
Copyright © 2021 M. L. Goko et al.