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Mycetic strains belonging to the species Fusarium moniliforme Sheldon are common contaminants of maize, other grains and agricltural commodities throughout the world.
They can produce a variety of mycotoxins.
Among these are fumonisins which are now known to cause certain animal diseases such as leukoencephalomalacia in horses, pulmonary oedema in swine and liver cancer in rats.
There is also a signficiant association between thier presence in maize and human oesophageal cancer in Southern Africa.
At present, 6 fumonisins are known to be metabolites of Fusarium moniliforme (fumonisin B1, B2, B3, B4, Al and A2).
Several other Fusarium species are now known to produce fumonisins.
It has been demonstrated that fumonisin B1 production is highest at 20 C.
As far as the mechanism of action of the fumonisins is concerned, fumonisin B1 and B2 inhibit sphingolipid biosynthesis in primary rat hepacocytes and pig kidney epithelial cells.
Some of the main acquisitions about fumonisins are discussed. cussed.

Additional information

Authors: PASTONI F, Consiglio dell'Ordine Nazionale dei Biologi, Roma (IT);MARENGO G, JRC Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 16315 IT (1995) 21pp., FS
Availability: Available from the Public Relations and Publications Unit, JRC Ispra, I-21020 Ispra (IT)
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