Major changes in Fusarium spp. in wheat in the Netherlands

Cees Waalwijk, Pieter Kastelein, Ineke De Vries, Zoltan Kerényi, Theo Van Der Lee, Thamara Hesselink, Jürgen Köhl, Gert Kema

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248 Citations (Scopus)


The re-emergence of fusarium head blight throughout the world and especially in Western Europe prompted a survey of the situation in the Netherlands. To allow for a high throughput screening of large numbers of samples, a diagnostic PCR method was developed to detect the most common species of Fusarium occurring on wheat. Seven primer pairs were tested for their ability to identify isolates of Fusarium avenaceum, F. culmorum, F. graminearum, F. poae, F. proliferatum and Microdochium nivale var. majus and M. nivale var. nivale. Each primer pair only generated a PCR product with the corresponding Fusarium species and all PCR fragments had different molecular sizes. This allowed the generation of these amplicons using a mixture of all seven primer pairs. The robustness of this multiplex PCR encouraged us to screen a large series of isolates collected in 2000 and 2001. In both years 40 fields were sampled leading to a collection of 209 isolates from 2000 and 145 isolates from 2001. The results of the multiplex PCR demonstrated that F. graminearum was the most abundant species in the Fusarium complex on wheat in both years. This is in sharp contrast to reports from the 1980s and early 1990s, which found F. culmorum as the predominant species. Primers derived from the tri7 and tril3 genes, which are implicated in the acetylation and oxygenation of the C-4 atom of the backbone of the trichothecene molecule, were used to discriminate between deoxynivalenol and nivalenol (NIV) producers. The populations of F. culmorum and F. graminearum both showed a slight increase in NIV-producers in 2001.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)743-754
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Plant Pathology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2003


  • Fusarium head blight
  • Molecular identification
  • Multiplex PCR
  • Mycotoxin
  • Population diversity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture

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  • Cite this

    Waalwijk, C., Kastelein, P., De Vries, I., Kerényi, Z., Van Der Lee, T., Hesselink, T., Köhl, J., & Kema, G. (2003). Major changes in Fusarium spp. in wheat in the Netherlands. European Journal of Plant Pathology, 109(7), 743-754.