Trichothecenes, a major class of mycotoxins produced by Fusarium, Myrothecium, and Stachybotrys species, are toxic to both plants and mammals. Simple trichothecenes, including type A (e.g., T-2 toxin) and type B (e.g., deoxynivalenol), are generally less toxic than macrocyclic trichothecenes. We sought to determine if simple trichothecenes are a potential source of candidates for development as bioherbicides, which require high phytotoxicity and low mammalian toxicity. We examined 28 simple trichothecenes invitro for phytotoxicity using a small aquatic plant, Lemna pausicostata, and for mammalian toxicity using four cultured mammalian cell lines. Several structure-activity relationships were identified, including the following two, which may be relevant to bioherbicide development: peracetylation of type B trichothecenes and de-epoxidation of type A trichothecenes both substantially reduced mammalian toxicity with little effect on phytotoxicity. It was concluded that simple trichothecenes possessing strong phytotoxicity and minimal mammalian toxicity invitro can be identified.
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- Fusarium spp.