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Detoxification of Fusaric Acid by the Soil Microbe Mucor rouxii

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-05-24, 00:00 authored by Frankie K. Crutcher, Lorraine S. Puckhaber, Alois A. Bell, Jinggao Liu, Sara E. Duke, Robert D. Stipanovic, Robert L. Nichols
Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vasinfectum race 4 (VCG0114), which causes root rot and wilt of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum and G. barbadense), has been identified recently for the first time in the western hemisphere in certain fields in the San Joaquin Valley of California. This pathotype produces copious quantities of the plant toxin fusaric acid (5-butyl-2-pyridinecarboxylic acid) compared to other isolates of F. oxysporum f. sp. vasinfectum (Fov) that are indigenous to the United States. Fusaric acid is toxic to cotton plants and may help the pathogen compete with other microbes in the soil. We found that a laboratory strain of the fungus Mucor rouxii converts fusaric acid into a newly identified compound, 8-hydroxyfusaric acid. The latter compound is significantly less phytotoxic to cotton than the parent compound. On the basis of bioassays of hydroxylated analogues of fusaric acid, hydroxylation of the butyl side chain of fusaric acid may affect a general detoxification of fusaric acid. Genes that control this hydroxylation may be useful in developing biocontrol agents to manage Fov.