Behari Describes Deoxynivalenol Summer Research

Posted: October 23, 2015

Anita Behari, Ph.D. student in Dr. Gretchen Kuldau's lab, details her summer research collaboration at the University of Missouri.

This past summer I traveled to the University of Missouri to work with Dr. George Rottinghaus from the Veterinary Medical Diagnostics Laboratory to isolate deoxynivalenol (DON) from Fusarium graminearum inoculated rice cultures that I prepared at Penn State. Dr. Rottinghaus is well known for this work with production and isolation of mycotoxins, making this collaboration very beneficial in providing DON for my future research on the isolation of DON transforming microbes.

When I arrived, my first step was to prep the culture material for extraction by drying and grinding the material into a powder. The material was then extracted with methanol:water, followed by a final extraction with ethyl acetate. We used flash chromatography to separate DON from other compounds in the extract, and thin layer chromatography (TLC) to test fractions for DON eluting from the column. The fractions containing DON were consolidated and dried under warm air, then analyzed using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to determine how much DON was extracted.

Having the opportunity to work with DON in a context different from plant pathology has given me insight into the effects that mycotoxins have on veterinary medicine and has allowed me to develop new skills. This experience serves as a reminder that Fusarium Head Blight and DON accumulation remain problematic in agriculture for plant, animal, and human health.