Source of funding: National Science Centre, Poland
Funding Scheme: OPUS 16
Project ID number: 2018/31/B/NZ9/03485
Start date: 17.07.2019
Finish date: 16.07.2022
Budget: 1 289 100,00 zł ; for University: 303 600,00 zł
The main scientific goal of the project is to provide a comprehensive explanation of the
role of natural essential oils in the process of Fusarium fungal growth inhibition and binding
and/or degradation of Fusarium mycotoxins through detailed characteristics of their
qualitative and quantitative composition and assessment of biological activity in the in vitro
and in vivo tests taking into account a number of factors on the effectiveness of this process.
Fusarium species - the most common fungal pathogens - infect many crop plants in all
stages of development, ultimately causing a decrease in their quality (germination capacity,
baking parameters) and yield (losses of 7-70%). In addition, most fungi of the genus
Fusarium show the ability to biosynthesise toxic secondary metabolites - mycotoxins, among
which the most significant - from the point of view of food and feed safety - are
deoxynivalenol, zearalenone and fumonisins.
In view of the increasing numbers of scientific reports indicating the common resistance
of Fusarium pathogens to applied fungicides and their negative impact on the environment
attempts are being made to develop alternative, effective methods of crop protection. The
activities carried out in this field are multidirectional; on the one hand, preparations are sought
for with a limited content of chemicals, effective already at low doses, while on the other
hand, more and more emphasis is placed on the biological protection of plants using
One of the solutions may be to use a wide spectrum of valuable biological properties of
natural essential oils, in particular, antifungal, antibacterial or insecticidal. Herbal plants, of
which Poland is one of the leading producers, may be valuable and easily available sources of
these natural volatile substances, and the use of modern extraction techniques will provide
high-quality material with desirable antimicrobial properties.
Insufficient knowledge in this area has prompted us to undertake the research planned in
this project, the aim of which will be to conduct a multifaceted analysis of the interaction
between bioactive compounds present in the essential oils and Fusarium fungi, along with
their influence on the secondary metabolism, e.g. mycotoxin biosynthesis.
To our knowledge,
there is also no information on proteomic analyses that could help explain this process more
precisely. It is worth emphasizing that this new approach may provide interesting data on the
processes occurring at the fungal cell level. What is more, there is also a lack of information
on the mechanism of interaction between essential oils and mycotoxins. So far, it has not been
clarified whether mycotoxins are degraded, transformed or bound by bioactive compounds
contained in oils.
To our knowledge it will be the first such widely planned research, using a range of
modern analytical and diagnostic methods facilitating the search for valuable bioactive plant
components that can find widespread use, among others in the biological protection of cereals
and be an alternative to the commonly used fungicides.