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Uptake of deoxynivalenol by earthworms from Fusarium-infected wheat straw

Conservation tillage combined with crop-residue mulching is increasingly important to meet soil protection targets. Concurrently, the health risk of soil-borne pathogenic fungi like Fusarium species, which produce deoxynivalenol (DON) as their major mycotoxin, is increasing. The detritivorous earthworm species Lumbricus terrestris takes part in the efficient degradation of Fusarium-infected and DON-contaminated wheat straw. Against this background, a laboratory study was conducted to quantify by means of ELISA technique the uptake of DON and its possible absorption and accumulation in tissue by L. terrestris in the short-term (5 weeks) and long-term (11 weeks). The DON concentrations in L. terrestris of the Fusarium-infected treatment were significantly different in the order of gut tissue > body wall > gut content at both dates with a decline in the long-term. The DON concentrations in the tissues decreased by an order of magnitude of weeks to months.

Schrader, S.; Kramer, S.; Oldenburg, E.; Weinert, J. 2009. Uptake of deoxynivalenol by earthworms from Fusarium-infected wheat straw. Mycotox Research 25, 53 – 58.