Sanitary security of foodstuffs
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Sanitary quality of maize (corn) & Mycotoxins

Keys for understanding

Main mycotoxin-producing fungi

For any given species, only certain strains develop toxins. There are three main types of toxigenic strains:


Mycotoxins are not produced systematically

The presence of toxigenic fungi on maize (corn) grains does not necessary lead to the presence of mycotoxins. Whether or not a strain produces toxins depends on many different conditions.


On growing corn
Fusarium graminearum and Fusarium verticillioides

In France, the presence of fusariotoxins on maize (corn) grains at the time of harvesting is a result of contamination by two species of Fusarium and, if the conditions are favourable, production of toxins by these strains:

Contamination of a maize (corn) plant by one of these fungi leads to the development of a maize (corn) disease called ear fusariosis.


Means of contamination in the field

Each fungus has its own particular pathological behaviour (means of penetration into the plant, symptoms). The ecophysiological conditions (interaction between plant, fungus and the environment) favourable to attack also differ from species to species.

F. Liseola

Contamination by F. LiseolaThere is one major means of contamination, with a second one occurring less frequently;


- direct contamination after damage caused by insects and cracks;

- more rarely, systemic contamination from an affected stem and/or contaminated seeds.



F. graminearum

Contamination by Fusarium graminearum

F. graminearum is a strictly parasitic fungus for which two systems of grain contamination have been identified :


- the main means of contamination is via lint;

- contamination via insects.




These fungi are not very sensitive to fungicides

Fungicides are of limited effect on Fusarium.


© Maïsadour Semences 2020 | Doc. designed August 10, 2006 - updated 15 mars, 2007 | Mentions légales |



Mycotoxins are molecules produced by certain fungi when in favourable ecophysiological conditions. They can be toxic for humans and some animal species when a certain quantity is ingested.

The main mycotoxin-producing fungi affecting growing maize (corn) are: F. moniliforme (Liseola section) and F. graminearum (F. Discolor section).

The main mycotoxins are zearalenone (ZEA) and deoxynivalenol (DON) produced by F. graminearum and fumonisins produced by F. Liseola.

For the sake of brevity, on this site F. moniliforme Liseola section and F. graminearum Discolor section are referred to as F. Liseola and F. graminearum respectively.


field mycotoxins Fungi Foodstuffs
Fumonisines Fusarium moniliforme
Fusarium proliferatum
Maize (Corn)
Zéaralénone Fusarium graminearum
Fusarium culmorum

(including DON or
Fusarium Cereals