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  • 1 Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, P.O. Box 62000-00100, Nairobi, Kenya
  • 2 University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom
  • 3 Harper Adams University, Newport, United Kingdom
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Fusarium langsethiae is a fungus that has recently been implicated in the contamination of small-grain cereal crops such as oats, wheat and barley with high levels of HT-2 and T-2 toxins in many European countries. The epidemiology of this fungus is not well known and may therefore be a bigger problem than currently thought to be. A study was carried out investigating the in vitro growth characteristics of F. langsethiae isolates from contaminated oats and wheat at various temperatures; 15, 20, 25 and 30 °C. Results indicated similar growth trends of oats and wheat isolates of F. langsethiae. Wheat isolates grew significantly (p<0.001) faster than oat isolates although this difference may have been confounded by the age of cultures, with oat isolates collected one year earlier. The estimated optimum growth temperature for all isolates was 24 °C. Isolates were macro-morphologically categorized as having lobed or entire colony margins, and either possessing one of the following colony colours: white, orange or purple. Since the estimated optimum growth temperature of F. langsethiae is typical in temperate summers when small-grain cereals are flowering, it is possible that this species can infect, colonise and possibly contaminate the developing grains with HT-2 and T-2 toxins which are of food safety concern.

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