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Micromycetes of wheat grain in Ukraine

Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is one of the most important among agricultural food and forage crops since its inception, the basis for human nutrition and is of great economic importance throughout the world. Usually wheat is used for human consumption and is part of the main diet of almost 35% of the world's population (Behl et al., 2006).

It is grown in about 102 countries around the world, covering about 220.69 million hectares of land, accounting for 32% of the world's total cultivated land. The area and production grew by 0.83 million hectares and 1.84 million tons respectively in 2000 (Hasan, 2006).

It provides a large proportion of dietary protein, total nutrition. It is also the main source of carbohydrates and proteins for both humans and animals. Each year, our state Ukraine collects wheat crops in the amount of 66 million tons of grain [1], it is planted about 177 thousand hectares of country's sown area [2].  Wheat is stored for a certain period of time before it can be sold or used as a feed or seed. The storage time of the cereals may be maintained, depending on the conditions of the storage and use of the storage [3].

Wheat yields a number of diseases, which greatly reduces its overall production, since wheat plants are subjected to various mechanical, physiological and biological stresses in all stages of growth and in all natural conditions that impede their normal growth and development. Biological hazards, insects, viruses, fungi, nematodes, bacteria and weeds are the main factors that influence the process of growing and storing wheat [4].

Quite often, wheat at different stages of production and storage, with the help of certain factors such as the quality of soil, temperature, humidity can be affected by microscopic fungi, and as a consequence, their secondary metabolites, mycotoxins. It can reduce the amount of product, the quality of wheat, and even completely become unfit for human consumption and animals [5].

Now more than 300 species of fungi producing mycotoxins are known. Especially

Among them, Aspergillus, Fusarium and Penicillium are considered as dangerous among them. They are noted because of high overall toxicity, immunosuppression, mutagenic and / or carcinogenic effects on humans and animals after the contaminated product is processed into food and consumed. Mycotoxins such as zearalenone (ZEN), deoxynivalenol (DON) or nivalenol (NIV) are most often produced by fungi F. graminearum and F. culmorum are dangerous due to their acute or chronic toxic effects on mammals [6].

The object of the study was 70 samples of grain of wheat crops in 2016 and 2017, selected in collective farms, the private sector, elevators, breeding stations and regional seed inspections of three regions of Ukraine in accordance with GOST 13586.3-83 in 9 regions of Ukraine. The Steppe zone included 25 samples from the Kirovograd, Nikolaev and Odessa regions, 25 samples from the forest-steppe – from the Vinnitsa, Kyiv, Khmelnytsky and Cherkassy regions, and the Polissya zone from the 25 Transcarpathian, Kyiv and Chernihiv regions.

Quantitative and qualitative composition of wheat grain fungi was investigated. It was established that in 1 g of wheat grain was detected from 1,12 • 103 to 6,5 • 104 KFUs, which averaged 3,3 • 104 ± 3,2 • 104. At the same time in 2016 most of the fungi were in grain of wheat from Polissya, and the least – in the zone of the Steppe. In 2017, on the contrary, more KFUs were found in the Grain zone of the Steppe, and the least in the zone of Polissya. In 2 years, on average in Polissya KFUs was 33,3•104 ± 4,49•104, in the forest-steppe 2,4•104 ± 3,24•104 and Steppe 3,3•104 ± 3,2•104. The qualitative composition of wheat fungi is: Aspergillus spp. 80% of samples, Alternaria alternata 79%, Mucor spp. 74%, Penicillium spp. 59%, Fusarium spp. 36%, Phoma exiqua 17%, Mycelia sterilia 10% .

Thus, the results obtained by us correspond to the distribution of microscopic fungi on wheat grains for the Ukrainian natural and climatic zone and with not significant deviations correspond to the research conducted in 2006-2007.
 We examined 70 samples of wheat grain from 2016 and 2017 from different physical and geographical zones. The quantitative and qualitative composition of fungi in grain of wheat is established. The isolates of microscopic fungi will be investigated on their ability to form secondary metabolites of mycotoxins. The results will also be used to further predict the possible contamination of grain in the future, due to changes in physical environmental factors.

Key words: KFUs, mycobiota, mycromycetes, mycotoxins, Aspergillus, Alternaria, Mucor, Penicillium, Phoma, Mycelia


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