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Abstract

Deoxynivalenol (DON) is the most common mycotoxin in Norwegian cereals, and DON is detected in most samples of crude cereal grain and cereal food commodities such as flour, bran, and oat flakes. The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety assessed the risk for adverse effects of deoxynivalenol (DON) in different age groups of the domestic population. This review presents the main results from the risk assessment, supplemented with some recently published data. Impairment of the immune system together with reduced feed intake and weight gain are the critical effects of DON in experimental animals on which the current tolerable daily intake was established. Based on food consumption and occurrence data, the mean exposure to DON in years with low and high levels of DON in the flour, respectively, were in the range of or up to two times the Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) in 1-year-old infants and 2-year-old children. In years with high mean DON concentration, the high (95th-percentile) exposure exceeded the TDI by up to 3.5 times in 1-, 2- , 4-, and 9-year-old children. The assessment concluded that exceeding the TDI in infants and children is of concern. The estimated dietary DON intakes in adolescent and adult populations are in the range of the TDI or below, and are not a health concern. Acute human exposure to DON is not of concern in any age group.

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Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) was used to study the genetic variation among 80 F. verticillioides isolates from kernels of Ethiopian maize, collected from 20 different maize growing areas in four geographic regions. A total of 213 polymorphic fragments were obtained using six EcoRI/MseI primer combinations. Analysis of the data based on all 213 polymorphic AFLP fragments revealed high level of genetic variation in the F. verticillioides entities in Ethiopia. About 58% of the fragments generated were polymorphic. The genetic similarity among F. verticillioides isolates varied from 46% to 94% with a mean Dice similarity of 73%. Unweighted Pair Group Method with Arithmetic Average (UPGMA) analysis revealed two main groups and four subgroups. The principal coordinate analysis (PCO) also displayed two main groups that agreed with the results of UPGMA analysis, and there was no clear pattern of clustering of isolates according to geographic origin. Analysis of molecular variance: (AMOVA) showed that only 1.5% of the total genetic variation was between geographic regions, while 98.5% was among isolates from the same geographic regions of Ethiopia. Eighty distinct haplotypes were recognized among the 80 isolates analyzed. Hence, breeding efforts should concentrate on quantitative resistance that is effective against all genotypes of the pathogen.

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Abstract

This paper presents peer-reviewed studies comparing the content of deoxynivalenol (DON), HT-2+T-2 toxins, zearalenone (ZEA), nivalenol (NIV), ochratoxin A (OTA) and fumonisins in cereal grains, and patulin (PAT) in apple and apple-based products, produced in organically and conventionally grown crops in temperate regions. Some of the studies are based on data from controlled field trials, however, most are farm surveys and some are food basket surveys. Almost half of the studies focused on DON in cereals. The majority of these studies found no significant difference in DON content in grain from the two farming systems, but several studies showed lower DON content in organically than in conventionally produced cereals. A number of the investigations reported low DON levels in grain, far below the EU limits for food. Many authors suggested that weather conditions, years, locations, tillage practice and crop rotation are more important for the development of DON than the type of farming. Organically produced oats contained mainly lower levels of HT-2+T-2 toxins than conventionally produced oats. Most studies on ZEA reported no differences between farming systems, or lower concentrations in organically produced grain. For the other mycotoxins in cereals, mainly low levels and no differences between the two farming systems were reported. Some studies showed higher PAT contamination in organically than in conventionally produced apple and apple products. The difference may be due to more efficient disease control in conventional orchards. It cannot be concluded that any of the two farming systems increases the risk of mycotoxin contamination. Despite no use of fungicides, an organic system appears generally able to maintain mycotoxin contamination at low levels. More systematic comparisons from scientifically controlled field trials and surveys are needed to clarify if there are differences in the risk of mycotoxin contamination between organically and conventionally produced crops.

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Abstract

Fusarium species causing maize kernel rot are major threats to maize production, due to reduction in yield as well as contamination of kernels by mycotoxins that poses a health risk to humans and animals. Two-hundred maize kernel samples, collected from 20 major maize growing areas in Ethiopia were analyzed for the identity, species composition and prevalence of Fusarium species and fumonisin contamination. On average, 38 % (range: 16 to 68 %) of maize kernels were found to be contaminated by different fungal species. Total of eleven Fusarium spp. were identified based on morphological characteristics and by sequencing the partial region of translation elongation factor 1-alpha (EF-1α) gene. Fusarium verticillioides was the dominant species associated with maize kernels (42 %), followed by F. graminearum species complex (22.5 %) and F. pseudoanthophilium (13.4 %). The species composition and prevalence of Fusarium species differed among the areas investigated. Fusarium species composition was as many as eight and as few as four in some growing area. The majority of the maize samples (77 %) were found positive for fumonisin, with concentrations ranging from 25 μg kg−1 to 4500 μg kg−1 (mean: 348 μg kg−1 and median: 258 μg kg−1). Slight variation in fumonisin concentration was also observed among areas. Overall results indicate widespread occurrence of several Fusarium species and contamination by fumonisin mycotoxins. These findings are useful for intervention measures to reduce the impact of the main fungal species and their associated mycotoxins, by creating awareness and implementation of good agricultural practices.

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Abstract

Zambia is one of the major maize producing countries in Africa, and maize production in the country has doubled in the last decade. About 10% of the production was exported in recent years. Zambia has suitable climate for increased maize cultivation. Fumonisin is a mycotoxin produced by Fusarium spp., and maize is the only crop contaminated with high amounts of fumonisin. Health of humans and domestic animals may be adversely affected by intake of fumonisin contaminated products. There are limited data on the fumonisin situation in Zambia, but available results indicate that Zambian maize is moderately contaminated with fumonisin. There are uncertainties involved in predicting the future climate for Zambia and other South and East African countries. It is not possible to predict how climate change during this century will affect the risk for fumonisin contamination of maize in Zambia and neighboring countries.

Abstract

Pythium species are fungal-like organisms distributed all over the world. Most Pythium spp. live as saprophytes, but some of them are pathogenic. Here we report on disease incidence in Norway spruce (Picea abies) seedlings caused by Pythium undulatum, and pathogenicity in vitro of Norwegian isolates of P. undulatum and P. anandrum.

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Abstract

Field experiments in the high rainfall zone (HRZ) and the medium rainfall zone (MRZ) in Zambia were designed to determine the natural occurrence of fumonisins (FB1-2) in Zambian maize hybrids, accumulation of FB1-2 resulting from artificial inoculation with Fusarium verticillioides and effects of climate and planting time on FB1-2 in maize. Combined FB1-2 concentrations varied from 0 to 13,050 ng/g, with an overall mean of 666 ng/g. Maize from the HRZ had low incidences of FB1-2-positive samples (mean 41%) which contained FB1-2 below 500 ng/g. In the MRZ, higher incidences (mean 97%) and concentrations (40% of samples > 1,000 ng/g) were recorded in two out of three years. There was no correlation between mean location FB1-2 concentrations in individual years and precipitation, number of rain days or monthly precipitation. Postponing the planting time with 10 or 20 days did not significantly affect FB1-2 concentration, but it reduced the yields in some years.

Abstract

Phytophthora ramorum S. Werres, A.W.A.M. de Cook & W.A. Man in‘t Veld is a newly described Phytophthora-species which is considered to be relatively recently introduced to both USA and Europe from an unknown area, or areas, of origin. The pathogen has a wide host range and causes a complexity of disease symptoms generally grouped into three categories: canker, foliage lesion, and dieback. In Europe the pathogen has been reported in 21 countries, Norway included; predominantly on ornamental plants in nurseries, but also outside nurseries in gardens and semi-natural environment, most often on rhododendrons. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority needs a risk assessment of the pest as basis for an evaluation of a future phytosanitary risk management of P. ramorum, including whether the organism should be regulated as a quarantine pest in Norway. On this background the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, in a letter of 22nd August 2008, requested a pest risk assessment of P. ramorum from the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (Vitenskapskomiteen for mattrygghet, VKM). The pest risk assessment was adopted by VKM"s Panel on plant health (Panel 9) on a meeting 24th June 2009. VKM"s Panel 9 gives the following main conclusions of the risk assessment: 1) P. ramorum is present but not widely distributed in Norway, and the pest is under official control. The outdoors surveys of P. ramorum in Norway have not been conducted systematically over the whole country, and some uncertainty therefore still remains regarding the current distribution of P. ramorum in the PRA area. 2) The overall probability of entry of P. ramorum into Norway and the overall probability of establishment of P. ramorum in Norway are both rated as high with low levels of uncertainty; 3) In the absence of statutory control the probability for P. ramorum to be spread quickly in the PRA area by trade of host plants for planting is rated as high. The uncertainty of this assessment is low; 4) The part of the PRA area where presence of P. ramorum might result in economically important losses (the endangered area) is assessed to be most of the country of Norway, except where the climate is predicted to be unfavourable for the pest. However, this area must be regarded as a maximum estimate for the endangered area. On the other hand, a narrow and very conservative estimate for the endangered area can be defined based on the geographical distribution of highly susceptible host plants in Norway. This area is gardens and parks with Rhododendron spp., Viburnum spp. and F. sylvatica and areas in the wild into which Rhododendron spp. has spread and woods with F. sylvatica. Woods with F. sylvatica is limited to the county of Vestfold and some small areas in the counties of Aust-Agder and Hordaland; 5) P. ramorum is likely to have moderate economic impact on the nurseries in the PRA area with current phytosanitary measures. Without any such regulations P. ramorum is likely to have major economic impact on the nursery industry of the PRA area. The levels of uncertainties of these assessments are low; 6) With current phytosanitary measures P. ramorum is likely to have moderate economic impact on parks and private gardens in parts of the PRA area. Without any such regulations P. ramorum is likely to have major economic impact in the best climatic zones of the PRA area. The levels of uncertainties of these assessments are low; 7) The impact of P. ramorum in coniferous and mixed forests of the PRA area is likely to be minor. The level of uncertainty of this assessment is medium. The impact of P. ramorum in natural and planted deciduous broadleaf forests of the PRA area is likely to be minor due to the scattered and limited distribution of the most susceptible species. The level of uncertainty of this assessment is medium; 8) The non-commercial and environmental consequences to natural environments in the PRA area are likely to be moderate. The level of uncertainty ...

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Abstract

Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) is the fifth most important crop in the developing countries after rice, wheat, maize and cassava. The amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) method was used to study the genetic diversity and relationships of sweet potato accessions in the germplasm collection of Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro and Sugarcane Research Institute, Kibaha, Tanzania. AFLP analysis of 97 sweet potato accessions using ten primer combinations gave a total of 202 clear polymorphic bands. Each one of the 97 sweet potato accessions could be distinguished based on these primer combinations. Estimates of genetic similarities were obtained by the Dice coefficient, and a final dendrogram was constructed with the un-weight pair-group method using arithmetic average. AFLP-based genetic similarity varied from 0.388 to 0.941, with a mean of 0.709. Cluster analysis using genetic similarity divided the accessions into two main groups suggesting that there are genetic relationships among the accessions. Principal Coordinate analysis confirmed the pattern of the cluster analysis. Analysis of molecular variance revealed greater variation within regions (96.19%) than among regions (3.81%). The results from the AFLP analysis revealed a relatively low genetic diversity among the germplasm accessions and the genetic distances between regions were low. A maximally diverse subset of 13 accessions capturing 97% of the molecular markers diversity was identified. We were able to detect duplicates accessions in the germplasm collection using the highly polymorphic markers obtained by AFLP, which were found to be an efficient tool to characterize the genetic diversity and relationships of sweet potato accessions in the germplasm collection in Tanzania.

Abstract

The main Avena species that are important weeds of cereal and arable crops include A. fatua L., A. sterilis and A. barbata Pott. All three species have an abscission scar on the grains. A risk assessment of A. fatua L. as an indirect pest in Norway is given in a separate document. For both A. sterilis ssp. macrocarpa and ssp. maxima, and for A. barbata Pott, the potential for entry and establishment in Norway is considered as very low. A. sterilis ssp. ludoviciana (winter wild oats) has a moderate potential for establishment in Norway. The suitability of the environment for A. sterilis ssp. ludoviciana was therefore investigated: Our assessment of the probability of establishment indicates that the climate is not favourable for establishment of A. sterilis ssp. ludoviciana in Norway. A. sterilis ssp. ludoviciana is a problem in southern Europe and central southern England and is mainly a weed in winter cereals. While it is highly likely that the probability of establishment of A. sterilis ssp. ludoviciana has increased in Norway in recent years due to climate change and consequent changes in cultural practices, its probability of establishment in Norway is still low and it is therefore not likely that it will become a weed in Norway under current conditions. However, if the future climate of the PRA area changes, so that winter conditions become similar to conditions in southern England, while the acreage of winter cereal continues to grow, A. sterilis ssp. ludoviciana could become a weed in Norway. A. sterilis ssp. ludoviciana is not present in Denmark where winter cereals are much more widely cultivated, and the climate is more favourable than in Norway. One would therefore expect the weed to establish in Denmark before it will become a problem in Norway

Abstract

Norwegian field production of lettuce has increased considerably since the early 1990s. Disease problems rarely required fungicide applications before 1996, when lettuce downy mildew (Bremia lactucae) caused severe losses. From 2002 to 2004, surveys were conducted to identify fungal diseases in Buskerud, Vestfold and Ostfold counties in the south-east and Rogaland County in the south-west, representing the main lettuce production regions of Norway. The distribution and incidence of B. lactucae was highly variable, but this pathogen was the most important due to the destructive nature of uncontrolled epidemics. Septoria lactucae caused severe damage, but was found in only one field. Sclerotinia sclerotiorum was the most widespread pathogen, found in 32% of the fields, but usually affecting less than 10% of the plants. Pythium tracheiphilum was reported from 33% of the fields in south-east Norway, but was not found in the south-west. Disease incidence was usually less than 5%, and a disease incidence of more than 10% was reported in one field only. Other pathogens of potential economic importance in Norwegian lettuce fields are Alternaria spp., Botrytis cinerea and Rhizoctonia solani, although they were sporadically distributed in relatively few fields in this survey.

Abstract

In 2007, after many years of absence, Cucumber Green Mottle Mosaic Virus (CGMMV) reoccurred in Norwegian cucumber production. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority is considering to regulate CGMMV as a quarantine pest and commissioned a Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) of the virus. The Panel of Plant Health gives the following conclusions: Both recent and previous presence of CGMMV indicate that the pest is able to establish in the PRA area. The most probable pathway for long distance spread into the PRA area is seed transmission. Infected seedlings, people, water and soil are probable pathways for short distance spread. The probability of further spread is from location to location is high. Dry heat treatment has probably been the most effective measure to prevent the spread of CGMMV. There is a moderate level of uncertainty regarding the pathway for entry of CGMMV into the PRA area. There is a low degree of uncertainty regarding the pathogen survival and possibilty for transmission, establishment and spread in Norwegian greenhouse cucumber production.

Abstract

Pine Wood Nematode (PWN, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus) is the causal organism of Pine Wilt Disease (PWD), the worst forest pest of Japan. In Europe PWN is known to exist in Portugal. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority (Mattilsynet) is concerned about the plant health risks and the consequences to the society if PWN should establish in Norway. Mattilsynet needs a scientific assessment of the proposed measures in a contingency plan for PWN. Mattilsynet also needs the risks connected with recent spread of PWN in Portugal to be evaluated before possible changes can be made in the current phytosanitary policy of Norway. On this background Mattilsynet requested a pest risk assessment of PWN from the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (Vitenskapskomiteen for mattrygghet, VKM). To answer the request, VKM commissioned a draft pest risk assessment report from the Norwegian Institute for Agricultural Sciences and Environmental Research (Bioforsk). A working group appointed by VKM’s Panel on Plant Health (Panel 9) has been involved during Bioforsk’s work on the report. VKM’s Panel 9 has used the report as a basis for VKM’s opinion. The current document answers Part 1 of Mattilsynet’s request, and was adopted by Panel 9 on a meeting 3rd September 2008. VKM’s Panel 9 gives the following main conclusions of the risk assessment: The PRA area of this assessment is Norway. PWN is not known to occur in Norway. With present trade pattern the probability of entry of PWN into Norway is expected to be high. The most probable pathway for entry of PWN into Norway would be wood packaging material (WPM). The probability that PWN will establish and spread in Norway is considered as high. With regard to the so-called Pest Free Areas (PFAs) of Portugal, the criteria given in ISPM No. 4 (FAO 1995) for establishing and maintaining PFAs have not been met, and the data available is not sufficient to confirm the existence of PFAs. Acceptance of untreated conifer wood from all parts of Portugal will result in a very high probability of entry and a high probability of establishment and spread of PWN and its vector to Norway. Uncertainty factors: To the best of our knowledge PWN is absent from the PRA area. The beetle M. sutor is regarded as a potential vector or PWN, but this has so far not been demonstrated in nature. The currently low vector densities may retard establishment of the PWN and PWD, but it will probably not stop establishment in a longer perspective. Lack of information on the dynamics of PWN populations in cool climates complicates estimates of the spread of the nematode and PWD. Custom routines may fail in their detection of PWN. Import of a seemingly harmless material might therefore pose an unknown risk. WPM follows consignments of all kinds and is a good example of a hazardous material, which often escapes plant health inspections. Detailed assessments of economic consequences of a possible establishment and spread of PWN in Norway, the effects of global warming and other climate changes on the probability for PWD outbreaks, and the effect of possible phytosanitary measures, will be given in Part 2.

Abstract

Wild oats (A. fatua) is present in 155 out of 431 Norwegian municipalities. It is widely distributed in all municipalities in the main agricultural areas in south-east and central-east Norway, and in the municipalities close to the Trondheim fjord. Otherwise wild oats is present in only a few scattered municipalities not geographically connected to these main areas. Endangered area, not yet infested by A. fatua, is estimated to 228858 ha. This area is spread over the cereal growing part of Norway. The counties of North- and South -Trøndelag have a higher portion of endangered area not yet infested than south and central part of East Norway. The probability of entry of A. fatua from outside the PRA area (Norway) is very low. The probability of spread within Norway is high. In areas with low infestation, like in Trøndelag, the probability of spread is lower than in heavily infested areas. However, in areas with high level of infestation there are few new farms left to be infested. The official wild oats register is a valuable tool in regulations aiming to limit spread. The register also provides a tool to follow up infested farms. The register would be even more useful if inspection for infestation on new farms had been more systematic. Wild oats is no longer devastating even in cereal monocropping, due to cost efficient herbicides. However, in Norway an increasing area is infested with wild oats. The infestation may vary from only a few plants to total coverage of the field. In cereal monocropping chemical treatment with and without hand roguing is the only feasible control methods. Hand roguing alone is expensive and ineffective even on modest infestation. The structural changes in cereal farming result in more farms being managed by entrepreneurs. Field managed by entrepreneurs promotes use of herbicide even on small infestations since this is a cost effective measure to control the weed. Less official control of cereal fields can also be expected. The economical consequences are thus expected to be high. The economical consequences can be even higher in organic farming if the most profitable rotation has to be changed to a less profitable one because of wild oats infestation.

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Abstract

Visual assessment of maize ears and Fusarium spp. isolation from kernels were compared to determine resistance in 20 Zambian maize hybrids. The mean percentage Fusarium spp. isolations in non-inoculated field experiments varied between years (12-62%). Symptomless infection by Fusarium spp. had domination over symptomatic. More than 95% of the Fusarium species isolated were F. vertcillioides. A disease severity index and the percentage of visibly diseased, discoloured and damaged kernels did not differentiate hybrids with respect to Fusarium spp. ear rot under natural conditions. Artificial inoculation provided a good estimate of Fusarium spp. resistance based on visual symptoms in a year of moderate disease pressure, but not in a year of high disease pressure. The percentage Fusarium spp. isolations showed significant differences between hybrids after inoculation, and it was significantly negatively correlated with the number of days from planting to midsilk. Parental line L5522 contributed to hybrid resistance to Fusarium. The hybrids MM 701-1 and MM 752 were the most resistant among the 20 hybrids.

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Abstract

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