Fusarium and aphid infestation increases mycotoxin levels in wheat

Fusarium langsethiae is a fungal pathogen of cereal crops such as wheat, oak and barley.

Fusarium langsethiae is a fungal pathogen of cereal crops such as wheat, oak and barley. F. langsethiae is a newly identified species and similarly to other Fusarium species, upon infection it produces mycotoxins; such as H2 and T-2 that are known to poses significant threat to mammals. F. langsethiae has been an increasing problem in Europe having been observed in ten countries including Russia, Finland and the UK. Scientists at the University of Nottingham an Rothamsted Research, in the UK, hypothesized that when plants are infected by both F. langsethiae and grain aphids (Sitobion avenae), there is an increase in H-2 and T-2 mycotoxins. They also hypothesized that aphids transmit F. langsethiae from infected plants to healthy plants. A number of transmission experiments with wingless and winged aphids as well as chemical analyses were performed to test these hypotheses. The transmission hypothesis did not prove that aphids could transmit disease from infected to healthy plants. However, the study proved that T-2 and H-2 mycotoxin levels increased if the fungus and aphids infested the same plants. The mycotoxin levels increased three fold compared to those plants that did not have aphids. Also, disease incidence increased when aphids were present. This study corroborates previous studies in which it was shown that aphids play a significant role in increasing toxin levels in cereal crops infected with Fusarium species. The aphid infestation is a risk factor for accumulating increased level of H-2 and T-2 toxins in wheat and other cereal crops.


  1. J. Drakulic, O. Ajigboe, R. Swarup, T. Bruce, and R. V. Ray, (2016) Aphid infestation increases  Fusarium langsethiae and T-2 and H-2 mycotoxins in wheat. Article.

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