Contamination of bananas with beauvericin and fusaric acid produced by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense
CITATION: Li, C. et al. 2013. Contamination of bananas with beauvericin and fusaric acid produced by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense. PLoS ONE, 8(7): e70226, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070226.
The original publication is available from: http://journals.plos.org
Background Fusarium wilt, caused by the fungal pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc), is one of the most destructive diseases of banana. Toxins produced by Foc have been proposed to play an important role during the pathogenic process. The objectives of this study were to investigate the contamination of banana with toxins produced by Foc, and to elucidate their role in pathogenesis. Methodology/Principal Findings Twenty isolates of Foc representing races 1 and 4 were isolated from diseased bananas in five Chinese provinces. Two toxins were consistently associated with Foc, fusaric acid (FA) and beauvericin (BEA). Cytotoxicity of the two toxins on banana protoplast was determined using the Alamar Blue assay. The virulence of 20 Foc isolates was further tested by inoculating tissue culture banana plantlets, and the contents of toxins determined in banana roots, pseudostems and leaves. Virulence of Foc isolates correlated well with toxin deposition in the host plant. To determine the natural occurrence of the two toxins in banana plants with Fusarium wilt symptoms, samples were collected before harvest from the pseudostems, fruit and leaves from 10 Pisang Awak ‘Guangfen #1’ and 10 Cavendish ‘Brazilian’ plants. Fusaric acid and BEA were detected in all the tissues, including the fruits. Conclusions/Signficance The current study provides the first investigation of toxins produced by Foc in banana. The toxins produced by Foc, and their levels of contamination of banana fruits, however, were too low to be of concern to human and animal health. Rather, these toxins appear to contribute to the pathogenicity of the fungus during infection of banana plants.