Phylogenetic Diversity and Mycotoxin Potential of Emergent Phytopathogens Within the Fusarium tricinctum Species Complex

Imane Laraba, Mark Busman, David M. Geiser, Kerry O'Donnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Recent studies on multiple continents indicate members of the Fusarium tricinctum species complex (FTSC) are emerging as prevalent pathogens of small-grain cereals, pulses, and other economically important crops. These understudied fusaria produce structurally diverse mycotoxins, among which enniatins (ENNs) and moniliformin (MON) are the most frequent and of greatest concern to food and feed safety. Herein a large survey of fusaria in the Fusarium Research Center and Agricultural Research Service culture collections was undertaken to assess species diversity and mycotoxin potential within the FTSC. A 151-strain collection originating from diverse hosts and substrates from different agroclimatic regions throughout the world was selected from 460 FTSC strains to represent the breadth of FTSC phylogenetic diversity. Evolutionary relationships inferred from a five-locus dataset, using maximum likelihood and parsimony, resolved the 151 strains as 24 phylogenetically distinct species, including nine that are new to science. Of the five genes analyzed, nearly full-length phosphate permease sequences contained the most phylogenetically informative characters, establishing its suitability for species-level phylogenetics within the FTSC. Fifteen of the species produced ENNs, MON, the sphingosine analog 2-amino-14,16- dimethyloctadecan-3-ol (AOD), and the toxic pigment aurofusarin (AUR) on a cracked corn kernel substrate. Interestingly, the five earliest diverging species in the FTSC phylogeny (i.e., F. iranicum, F. flocciferum, F. torulosum, and Fusarium spp. FTSC 8 and 24) failed to produce AOD and MON, but synthesized ENNs and/or AUR. Moreover, our reassessment of nine published phylogenetic studies on the FTSC identified 11 additional novel taxa, suggesting this complex comprises at least 36 species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1284-1298
Number of pages15
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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