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  • 1 National Research Council (CNR) Institute of Sciences of Food Production (ISPA) Via Amendola 122/O 70125 Bari Italy
  • 2 Università degli Studi di Bari Dipartimento di Biologia e Patologia Vegetale-Sezione di Biologia Vegetale via Amendola 165/A 70125 Bari Italy
  • 3 Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”, via Università 100 Dipartimento di Scienza degli Alimenti Parco Gussone Edificio 84 Portici-Napoli I-80055 Italy
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Fusarium head blight (FHB) of cereals is a well known disease caused by a complex of several toxigenic species of Fusarium . FHB can reduce grain yield and quality, because of the accumulation of mycotoxins in cereal grains and derived foods and feeds. The pathogen mainly reported as causal agent of FHB is F. graminearum , that produces Deoxynivalenol (DON), the mycotoxin mostly associated to the disease. However in the last decade, in Europe, in addition to DON, the esadepsipeptides Enniatins (ENs) and Beauvericin (BEA) have been often reported as cereal contaminants, in association with different species such as F. avenaceum , F. poae , and F. tricinctum . The natural occurrence of high amounts of BEA and ENs in FHB small grains, evaluated with the phytotoxic and zootoxic properties of these metabolites, compel to an examination of their potential role in contributing to the severity of FHB. On the other hand, the recent studies that have provided further data on the biological role of the esadepsipeptide in plants and their toxicity toward plants, animal and humans, make it worthwhile to expand the knowledge on the significance and the toxicity of these frequent contaminants of cereals.

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