Division of Biotechnology and Plant Health

Resistance to Fusarium langsethiae in Norwegian oats - SafeOats

Photo: Jafar Razzaghian / NIBIO
Finished Last updated: 20.05.2022
End: dec 2020
Start: may 2016

Safe oats for food and feed through knowledge of the biology of F. langsethiae and development of methods to identify oat varieties with low content of HT2+T2. 

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Havreseminaret, 18. november 2020: 

Status Concluded
Start - end date 01.05.2016 - 31.12.2020
Project manager Ingerd Skow Hofgaard
Division Division of Biotechnology and Plant Health
Department Fungal Plant Pathology in Forestry, Agriculture and Horticulture
Total budget 10700000

Secondary objectives (1-8):

1. Norwegian oat varieties and breeding lines are ranked reliably based on the content of Fusarium langsethiae and HT2+T2 after natural infection

2. A method for investigating resistance to F. langsethiae in oats is established for greenhouse conditions

3.  A method for investigating resistance to F. langsethiae in oats is established for field conditions

4. Incidence of mycotoxins in different size fractions of oat grains is identified

5. Significance of F. langsethiae and HT2+T2 for seed quality are surveyed

6. Gene expression pathways associated with putative resistance to F. langsethiae are characterized

7. Selected phenological and physiological characteristics associated with resistance to F. langsethiae in oats are identified

8. Oat varieties with a low content of both DON and HT2+T2 are identified within the current Nordic germplasm

Safe Oats will give new insight into the biology of F. langsethiae and HT2+T2 accumulation in oats, and provide information on varietal differences in toxin levels. Moreover, SafeOats will develop resistance screening methods in collaboration with the main Norwegian and Swedish oat breeding companies, thus facilitating the phase-out of susceptible germplasm. Furthermore, the project will provide information whether there are varietal differences concerning the content of mycotoxins in different size fractions of oat grains, and whether seed borne inoculum might be a source of F. langsethiae infections. The results from SafeOats will thus benefit consumers nationally and internationally by providing tools to increase the share of high quality grain into the food and feed industry.

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SafeOats Consortium 2017. Photo: Erling Fløistad / NIBIO

Publications in the project

Abstract

Fusarium graminearum is regarded as the main deoxynivalenol (DON) producer in Norwegian oats, and high levels of DON are occasionally recorded in oat grains. Weather conditions in the period around flowering are reported to have a high impact on the development of Fusarium head blight (FHB) and DON in cereal grains. Thus, it would be advantageous if the risk of DON contamination of oat grains could be predicted based on weather data. We conducted a functional data analysis of weather-based time series data linked to DON content in order to identify weather patterns associated with increased DON levels. Since flowering date was not recorded in our dataset, a mathematical model was developed to predict phenological growth stages in Norwegian spring oats. Through functional data analysis, weather patterns associated with DON content in the harvested grain were revealed mainly from about three weeks pre-flowering onwards. Oat fields with elevated DON levels generally had warmer weather around sowing, and lower temperatures and higher relative humidity or rain prior to flowering onwards, compared to fields with low DON levels. Our results are in line with results from similar studies presented for FHB epidemics in wheat. Functional data analysis was found to be a useful tool to reveal weather patterns of importance for DON development in oats.

Abstract

Over recent decades, the Norwegian cereal industry has had major practical and financial challenges associated with the occurrence of Fusarium head blight (FHB) pathogens and their associated mycotoxins in cereal grains. Deoxynivalenol (DON) is one of the most common Fusarium-mycotoxins in Norwegian oats, however T-2 toxin (T2) and HT-2 toxin (HT2) are also commonly detected. The aim of our study was to rank Nordic spring oat varieties and breeding lines by content of the most commonly occurring Fusarium mycotoxins (DON and HT2 + T2) as well as by the DNA content of their respective producers. We analyzed the content of mycotoxins and DNA of seven fungal species belonging to the FHB disease complex in grains of Nordic oat varieties and breeding lines harvested from oat field trials located in the main cereal cultivating district in South-East Norway in the years 2011–2020. Oat grains harvested from varieties with a high FHB resistance contained on average half the levels of mycotoxins compared with the most susceptible varieties, which implies that choice of variety may indeed impact on mycotoxin risk. The ranking of oat varieties according to HT2 + T2 levels corresponded with the ranking according to the DNA levels of Fusarium langsethiae, but differed from the ranking according to DON and Fusarium graminearum DNA. Separate tests are therefore necessary to determine the resistance towards HT2 + T2 and DON producers in oats. This creates practical challenges for the screening of FHB resistance in oats as today’s screening focuses on resistance to F. graminearum and DON. We identified oat varieties with generally low levels of both mycotoxins and FHB pathogens which should be preferred to mitigate mycotoxin risk in Norwegian oats.

Abstract

Occasionally, high mycotoxin levels are observed in Norwegian oat grain lots. The development of oat varieties with improved resistance to Fusarium and mycotoxins is therefore highly valued in order to increase the share of high quality grain into the food and feed industry. The Norwegian project “SafeOats” (2016-2020) aimed to develop resistance-screening methods to facilitate the phase-out of Fusarium-susceptible oat germplasm, as well as to give new insight into the biology of Fusarium langsethiae and HT2+T2 accumulation in oats. In naturally infested as well as in inoculated field trials, the relative ranking of oat varieties according to Fusarium graminearum/DON content did not resemble the ranking according to F. langsethiae/HT2+T2 content. One variety regarded as moderate resistant to Fusarium according to studies of DON content, was susceptible to F. langsethiae and thus at high risk for HT2+T2 contamination. Screening of resistance to F. langsethiae/HT2-T2 should therefore be routinely applied in breeding programs in addition to the already established screening of resistance to F. graminearum/DON. The incidence of F. langsethiae in a selection of oat seed lots used for commercial sowing showed a similar ranking of varieties as in the field trials. On average, the fungus was observed on 5% of the kernels in 168 seed lots tested during 2016-2018. No indication of transmission of F. langsethiae from germinating seed to seedling was found in a study with germination of naturally infected seeds. We investigated whether removing of small kernels by size sorting could be a method to reduce the content of mycotoxins in oat grain. For several of the mycotoxins including HT2+T2, the concentrations were considerably higher in the small kernel fraction compared to unsorted grain. Our results demonstrate that the level of mycotoxins in unprocessed oat grain can be reduced by removing small kernels. The results from SafeOats will benefit consumers nationally and internationally by providing tools to increase the share of high quality grain into the food and feed industry. The project was financed by The Agriculture and Food Industry Research Funds /Research Council of Norway with support from the industry partners Graminor, Lantmännen, Felleskjøpet Agri, Felleskjøpet Rogaland & Agder, Fiskå Mølle Moss, Norgesmøllene, Strand Unikorn/Norgesfôr and Kimen Seed Laboratory.

Abstract

Cereal grain contaminated by Fusarium mycotoxins is undesirable in food and feed because of the harmful health effects of the mycotoxins in humans and animals. Reduction of mycotoxin content in grain by cleaning and size sorting has mainly been studied in wheat. We investigated whether the removal of small kernels by size sorting could be a method to reduce the content of mycotoxins in oat grain. Samples from 24 Norwegian mycotoxin-contaminated grain lots (14 from 2015 and 10 from 2018) were sorted by a laboratory sieve (sieve size 2.2 mm) into large and small kernel fractions and, in addition to unsorted grain samples, analyzed with LC-MS-MS for quantification of 10 mycotoxins. By removing the small kernel fraction (on average 15% and 21% of the weight of the samples from the two years, respectively), the mean concentrations of HT-2+T-2 toxins were reduced by 56% (from 745 to 328 µg/kg) in the 2015 samples and by 32% (from 178 to 121 µg/kg) in the 2018 samples. Deoxynivalenol (DON) was reduced by 24% (from 191 to 145 µg/kg) in the 2018 samples, and enniatin B (EnnB) by 44% (from 1059 to 594 µg/kg) in the 2015 samples. Despite low levels, our analyses showed a trend towards reduced content of DON, ADON, NIV, EnnA, EnnA1, EnnB1 and BEA after removing the small kernel fraction in samples from 2015. For several of the mycotoxins, the concentrations were considerably higher in the small kernel fraction compared to unsorted grain. Our results demonstrate that the level of mycotoxins in unprocessed oat grain can be reduced by removing small kernels. We assume that our study is the first report on the effect of size sorting on the content of enniatins (Enns), NIV and BEA in oat grains.

Abstract

Aksfusariose er en kornsjukdom som kan angripe alle kornarter. Sjukdommen forårsakes av sopparter innen slekta Fusarium. Ulike Fusarium-arter kan produsere en rekke forskjellige mykotoksiner (soppgifter). Grenseverdier for innhold av enkelte mykotoksiner i korn og kornprodukter til mat og fôr er fastsatt av Mattilsynet (i henhold til EU’s regelverk). Denne dyrkningsveiledningen gir, på bakgrunn av dagens kunnskap, råd om hvordan en kan redusere risikoen for utvikling av mykotoksiner i korn.

Abstract

Fra bukkefôr og husmannskost til urban hipstermat; havre har vært en viktig komponent i kosthold og fôr i generasjoner. Men noen havresorter er mer sårbare for soppgifter enn andre. Dyrking av mer resistente sorter kan redusere risikoen for soppgifter i mat og fôr.

To document

Abstract

For bare ti år siden var Fusarium-sopper et stort problem i norske kornavlinger. Noen viktige grep, og hell med været, har resultert i svært lave konsentrasjoner av mykotoksinet DON de siste årene.

Abstract

The SafeOats project was initiated in 2016. An important objective of this project is to develop resistance screening methods to facilitate the phase-out of Fusarium-susceptible oat germplasm. Furthermore, SafeOats will give new insight into the biology of F. langsethiae and HT2+T2 accumulation in oats, and thus facilitate the choice of relevant control measures. The relative ranking of oat varieties according to F. graminearum/DON versus F. langsethiae/HT2+T2 content has been explored in field and greenhouse trials. In the greenhouse studies, we have analysed the content of Fusarium DNA and mycotoxins in grains of selected oat varieties inoculated at different development stages. Furthermore, we are currently studying the transcriptome during F. langsethiae and F. graminearum infestation of oats. The project also focus on the occurrence of F. langsethiae in oat seeds and possible influence of the fungus on seedling development in a selection of oat varieties. SafeOats is coordinated by NIBIO and is a collaboration between NIBIO, NMBU, Kimen Seed Laboratory, and the main Norwegian and Swedish breeding companies, Graminor and Lantmännen. Harper Adam University (UK) and Julius Kühn-Institute (Germany) are international collaborators. The project is financed by The Foundation for Research Levy on Agricultural Products/Agricultural Agreement Research Fund/Research Council of Norway with support from the industry partners Graminor, Lantmännen, Felleskjøpet Agri, Felleskjøpet Rogaland & Agder, Fiskå Mølle Moss, Norgesmøllene, Strand Unikorn/Norgesfôr and Kimen Seed Laboratory. The results from SafeOats will benefit consumers nationally and internationally by providing tools to increase the share of high quality grain into the food and feed industry.

Abstract

Occasionally, high mycotoxin levels are observed in Norwegian oat grain lots. The development of moderate resistant oat cultivars is therefore highly valued in order to increase the share of high quality grain into the food and feed industry. The Norwegian SafeOats project (2016-2020) aims to develop resistance screening methods to facilitate the phase-out of Fusarium-susceptible oat germplasm. Furthermore, SafeOats will give new insight into the biology of F. langsethiae and HT2+T2 accumulation in oats. The relative ranking of oat varieties according to F. graminearum/DON versus F. langsethiae/HT2+T2 content has been explored in naturally infested as well as in inoculated field trials. Routine testing of the resistance to F. graminearum in oat cultivars and breeding lines has been conducted in Norway since 2007. We are currently working on ways to scale up the inoculum production and fine tune the methodology of F. langsethiae inoculation of field trials to be routinely applied in breeding programs. Through greenhouse studies, we have analysed the content of Fusarium DNA and mycotoxins in grains of selected oat varieties inoculated at different development stages. Furthermore, we are studying the transcriptome during F. langsethiae and F. graminearum infestation of oats. The project also focus on the occurrence of F. langsethiae in oat seeds and possible influence of the fungus on seedling development in a selection of oat varieties. On average, the fungus was observed on 5% of the kernels in 168 seed lots tested during 2016-2018. No indication of transmission of F. langsethiae from germinating seed to seedlings was found in a study with germination of naturally infected seeds. So far, the studies have shown that the ranking of oat varieties according to HT2+T2 content in non-inoculated field trials resembles the ranking observed in inoculated field trials. The ranking of oat varieties according to DON content is similar in non-inoculated and F. graminearum inoculated field trials. However, the ranking of oat varieties according to DON content does not resemble the ranking for HT2+T2. The results from SafeOats will benefit consumers nationally and internationally by providing tools to increase the share of high quality grain into the food and feed industry. The project is financed by The Foundation for Research Levy on Agricultural Products/Agricultural Agreement Research Fund/Research Council of Norway with support from the industry partners Graminor, Lantmännen, Felleskjøpet Agri, Felleskjøpet Rogaland & Agder, Fiskå Mølle Moss, Norgesmøllene, Strand Unikorn/Norgesfôr and Kimen Seed Laboratory.

Abstract

The plant pathogenic fungus Fusarium langsethiae produces the highly potent mycotoxins HT-2 and T-2. Since these toxins are frequently detected at high levels in oat grain lots, they pose a considerable risk for food and feed safety in Norway, as well as in other north European countries. To reduce the risk of HT-2/T- 2-contaminated grain lots to enter the food and feed chain, it is important to identify factors that influence F. langsethiae infection and mycotoxin development in oats. However, the epidemiology of F. langsethiae is unclear. A three-year survey was performed to reveal more of the life cycle of F. langsethiae and its interactions with oats, other Fusarium species, as well as insects, mites and weeds. We searched for inoculum sources by quantifying the amount of F. langsethiae DNA in crop residues, weeds, and soil sampled from a selection of oat-fields. To be able to define the onset of infection, we analysed the amount of F. langsethiae DNA in oat plant material sampled at selected growth stages (between booting and maturation), as well as the amount of F. langsethiae DNA and HT-2 and T-2 toxins in the mature grain. We also studied the presence of possible insect- and mite vectors sampled at the selected growth stages using Berlese funnel traps. The different types of materials were also analysed for the presence F. graminearum DNA, the most important deoxynivalenol producer observed in Norwegian cereals, and which presence has shown a striking lack of correlation with the presence of F. langsethiae in oat. Results show that F. langsethiae DNA may occur in the oat plant already before heading and flowering. Some F. langsethiae DNA was observed in crop residues and weeds, though at relatively low levels. No Fusarium DNA was detected in soil samples. Of the arthropods that were associated with the collected oat plants, aphids and thrips species were dominating. Further details will be given at the meeting.

Abstract

Over the recent decades, the Norwegian cereal industry has had major practical and financial challenges associated with the occurrence of Fusarium and mycotoxins in cereal grains. From 2011, payment reductions to farmers were implemented for oat grain lots with high levels of deoxynivalenol (DON). However, according to preliminary results by NIBIO, NMBU and Graminor, certain oat varieties with generally medium or low DON contamination, may contain high levels of HT-2 and T-2-toxins (HT2+T2). These mycotoxins, formed by Fusarium langsethiae, are considerably more toxic than DON. Resistance to F. langsethiae is not included in the variety screening in Norway. In 2016 a new project, SafeOats, was initiated. This project is led by NIBIO and is a collaboration between NIBIO, NMBU, Kimen, and the main Norwegian and Swedish breeding companies, Graminor and Lantmännen. Harper Adam University (UK) and Julius Kühn-Institut (Germany) are international collaborators. SafeOats will develop resistance screening methods in order to facilitate the phase-out of susceptible oat germplasm. Furthermore, SafeOats will give new insight into the biology of F. langsethiae and HT2+T2 accumulation in oats, and thus facilitate the choice of relevant control measures. The results from SafeOats will benefit consumers nationally and internationally by providing tools to increase the share of high quality grain into the food and feed industry. SafeOats is financed by The Foundation for Research Levy on Agricultural Products/Agricultural Agreement Research Fund/Research Council of Norway with support from the industry partners Graminor, Lantmännen, Kimen, Felleskjøpet Agri, Felleskjøpet Rogaland Agder, Fiskå Mølle Moss, Norgesmøllene and Strand Unikorn/Norgesfor.

Abstract

Kornbransjen har gjennom flere år hatt store praktiske og økonomiske utfordringer knyttet til forekomst av Fusarium og mykotoksiner i korn. Fra 2011 har det vært pristrekk i havre ved høyt innhold av soppgiften deoksynivalenol (DON). Det er innført grenseverdier for innhold av DON i korn til mat og fôr. Imidlertid er det ikke alltid samsvar mellom innhold av DON og andre soppgifter i korn. Forskning ved Norsk institutt for bioøkonomi (NIBIO), Norges miljø- og biovitenskapelige universitet (NMBU) og planteforedlingsselskapet Graminor, viser at enkelte havresorter som får lite DON, kan inneholde mye av toksinene HT2 og T2. Disse mykotoksinene er vesentlig mer giftige enn DON og produseres av en nylig identifisert soppart, Fusarium langsethiae.