U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


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Date of this Version



Published in Food Additives and Contaminants, Vol. 25, No. 9, September 2008, 1158–1165. DOI: 10.1080/02652030802078166


Fusarium verticillioides (teleomorph Gibberella moniliformis) can be either an endophyte of maize, causing no visible disease, or a pathogen-causing disease of ears, stalks, roots and seedlings. At any stage, this fungus can synthesize fumonisins, a family of mycotoxins structurally similar to the sphingolipid sphinganine. Ingestion of fumonisin-contaminated maize has been associated with a number of animal diseases, including cancer in rodents, and exposure has been correlated with human oesophageal cancer in some regions of the world, and some evidence suggests that fumonisins are a risk factor for neural tube defects. A primary goal of the authors’ laboratory is to eliminate fumonisin contamination of maize and maize products. Understanding how and why these toxins are made and the F. verticillioides–maize disease process will allow one to develop novel strategies to limit tissue destruction (rot) and fumonisin production. To meet this goal, genomic sequence data, expressed sequence tags (ESTs) and microarrays are being used to identify F. verticillioides genes involved in the biosynthesis of toxins and plant pathogenesis. This paper describes the current status of F. verticillioides genomic resources and three approaches being used to mine microarray data from a wild-type strain cultured in liquid fumonisin production medium for 12, 24, 48, 72, 96 and 120 h. Taken together, these approaches demonstrate the power of microarray technology to provide information on different biological processes.