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Diversity in trichothecene mycotoxin production by 167 isolates of Fusarium graminearum was examined by chemical and molecular methods. Isolates from barley, corn, and wheat grown in Korea produced either deoxynivalenol (DON) or nivalenol (NIV), whereas isolates from corn grown in the United States produced DON only. Southern blotting of MseI-digested genomic DNA's from these isolates was performed using a 0.6-kb fragment of Tri5, a key enzyme for trichothecene production, as a probe. This technique revealed a single-band polymorphism between these isolates, with 1.8- and 2.2-kb bands arising from DON and NIV producers, respectively. The same set of isolates was subjected to previously developed PCR assays using primers derived from Tri7 or Tri13. These assays also revealed a single-band polymorphism between NIV- and DON-producing chemotypes. The polymorphisms at Tri5, Tri7, or Tri13 in all of the US isolates were consistent with their chemotypes as identified by GC–MS. However, for seven Korean isolates, chemical and molecular analyses yielded seemingly inconsistent results. This issue was resolved by Southern blot analysis with the Tri5 probe using two other restriction enzymes and sequence comparison of a 3.8-kb region spanning Tri5. In addition, one of these exceptional isolates was found to carry both DON and NIV chemotype-specific regions, possibly resulting from recombination between the two chemotypes.
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