Research Communication

Fusarium species isolated from Pennisetum clandestinum collected during outbreaks of kikuyu poisoning in cattle in South Africa

Christo J. Botha, Mariëtte Truter, Adriaana Jacobs
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 81, No 1 | a803 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v81i1.803 | © 2014 Christo J. Botha, Mariëtte Truter, Adriaana Jacobs | This work is licensed under CC Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0
Submitted: 10 April 2014 | Published: 20 November 2014

About the author(s)

Christo J. Botha, Department of Paraclinical Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Mariëtte Truter, Biosystematics Division, Agricultural Research Council-Plant Protection Research Institute, South Africa
Adriaana Jacobs, Biosystematics Division, Agricultural Research Council-Plant Protection Research Institute, South Africa


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Abstract

Kikuyu poisoning occurs sporadically in South Africa. It is of major economic importance, as valuable dairy cows are often poisoned by it, and once affected, the mortality rate is high. Pennisetum clandestinum samples were collected during eight outbreaks of kikuyu poisoning in cattle in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa from 2008 to 2010. The kikuyu grass samples were submitted specifically for the isolation and molecular identification of Fusarium species, as it was recently suggested that mycotoxins synthesised by Fusarium torulosum could be the cause of this intoxication. Ninety-four Fusarium isolates were retrieved from the grass samples, of which 72 were members of the Fusarium incarnatum/Fusarium equiseti species complex based on morphology and phylogenetic analyses of the translation elongation factor 1α sequence data. The South African isolates from kikuyu identified as members of the F. incarnatum/F. equiseti species complex grouped together in six separate clades. The other isolates were Fusarium culmorum (n = 3), Fusarium redolens (n = 4) and Fusarium oxysporum (n = 15). Although F. torulosum could not be isolated from P. clandestinum collected during kikuyu poisoning outbreaks in South Africa, the mycotoxicosis theory is still highly plausible.

Keywords

DNA sequence comparisons, Fusarium, Kikuyu poisoning, Mycotoxicosis, Phylogenetic analyses

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Crossref Citations

1. Characterisation of members of the Fusarium incarnatum-equiseti species complex from undisturbed soils in South Africa
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doi: 10.1007/s10482-018-1093-x