Mycotoxin Res. 2021 Jun 14. doi: 10.1007/s12550-021-00435-x. Online ahead of print.
Driven by increasing temperatures and the higher incidences of heat waves during summer, an increased incidence of Aspergillus flavus next to Fusarium verticillioides in European maize can be expected. In the current study, we investigated the interaction between both species. Colonies of A. flavus/F. verticillioides were grown in a single culture, in a dual culture, and in a mixed culture. The growth rate of A. flavus and F. verticillioides grown in a dual or mixed culture with the other species was clearly slower compared to the growth rate in a single culture. Mycotoxin production was in most cases negatively affected by dual or mixed inoculation. In planta, a dual inoculation resulted in reduced lesions of A. flavus, whereas the lesion size and toxin production of F. verticillioides were unaffected in the presence of A. flavus. The lesions as a result of a mixed inoculation were 112% bigger than a single A. flavus inoculation and 9% smaller than a single F. verticillioides inoculation. The fumonisin levels were 17% higher compared to a single inoculation. In case A. flavus was present two days before F. verticillioides, the lesion size of F. verticillioides was 55% smaller compared to a single F. verticillioides inoculation, and fumonisin production was almost completely inhibited. The interaction between A. flavus and F. verticillioides is highly dynamic and depends on the experimental conditions, on the variables measured and on the way they colonize the host, in two inoculation points, simultaneously in one inoculation point, or sequentially one species colonizing an existing lesion made by the other.