Microbial Protection Against Mycotoxin Accumulation and Enhance Yield in Wheat

Microbial Protection Against Fusarium graminearum Infection and Mycotoxin Accumulation


Executive Summary: Endophyte isolates that have antagonistic activity against the fungal pathogen Fusarium graminearum were shown to decrease mycotoxin accumulation and increase seed weight when wheat heads were challenged with Fusarium graminearum after endophyte isolate treatment.



Fusarium head blight is one of the most devastating diseases of cereals worldwide and is primarily caused by the fungus Fusarium graminearum. Infection causes a decrease in yield and can result in grain contamination by mycotoxins. Mycotoxins affect the digestive system and organ function of humans and livestock, resulting in acute and long‑term health consequences.

Current management of Fusarium graminearum infection and mycotoxin production is primarily focused on fungicide application but widespread reliance on fungicides can result in fungicide resistance. Thus, novel methods of preventing Fusarium graminearum infection and mycotoxin production are required to protect long‑term grain production.


Description of Technology: Endophyte isolates were collected in Michigan and found to have antagonistic activity against the growth of Fusarium graminearum, a pathogen that causes major crop losses and contamination of grain with toxic compounds. The endophyte isolates were introduced to wheat heads at the beginning of anthesis then challenged with the inoculation of Fusarium graminearum spores. The endophyte isolate application resulted in decreased mycotoxin accumulation and increased seed weight, when compared to control seeds only challenged with Fusarium graminearum. This technology prevents the contamination of grain and flour by mycotoxins, protecting food and feed.


Key Benefits

  • Application of endophyte isolates in planta decreased mycotoxin accumulation and increased seed weight when challenged with Fusarium graminearum
  • Novel treatment decreases mycotoxin accumulation in grain without the use of fungicides, preventing the contamination of grain and flour


Applications: Protection of wheat and barley from microbial infection and mycotoxin accumulation


Related publications:

Endophytic Fungi as a Promising Biocontrol Agent to Protect Wheat from Fusarium graminearum Head Blight. Noel et al., Plant Disease. 2022. https://apsjournals.apsnet.org/doi/10.1094/PDIS-06-21-1253-RE


Protection Status: US Patent Application Filed


Tech ID: TEC2021-0109

Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Julia Miller
AgBio Technology Manager
Michigan State University