Title: MIMYCS, A framework for simulating maize kernels mycotoxin contamination in Europe
Citation: Publication series of the Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Helsinki p. 298
Publisher: Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Helsinki
Publication Year: 2012
JRC N°: JRC72301
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC72301
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Mycotoxins are toxic compounds, produced by fungi and recognized as the main cause of chronic intoxications in the world. Maize is one of the crops subjected to the most critical mycotoxin problems throughout the world. Limitations set by the European Commission and by other nations of the world on the maximum levels of mycotoxins in cereal grain have had an important socio-economic impact on the global cereal market. As a consequence, producing maize grain with acceptable mycotoxin content and simultaneously maintaining profitability has become more and more difficult, with important socio-economic consequences. Mycotoxin contamination in maize grain is the result of a complex plant pathosystem (a system defined by parasitism and in which a plant is the host) formed by maize plants, toxigenic fungi and insect borers. Fungi development and mycotoxin synthesis is influenced by climatic conditions and by the fungi competitive relationships, which determine their prevalent geographical distribution. As a consequence, warming of the climate system could have an important impact on the pathosystem and the potential effects are very difficult to foresee. The modelling of mycotoxin contamination in maize grain during the field phase represents a great opportunity for maize producers, policy makers, and for scientists, to manage the mycotoxin problem in maize and to study the pathosystem and the effects of climate change. The project MIMYCS (Maize Infection and MYcotoxin Contamination Simulator) have started in 2010 and aims at the development of a simulation model system to simulate the complex pathosystem which leads to mycotoxin contamination in maize grain. The project aims at providing a first operational tool to simulate at EU scale mycotoxin contamination in maize grain in different climatic, environmental and agro-management situations. In this context, the development of MIMYCS will allow an easy re-use of it for performing simulations (i) to inform European policy makers involved in food and feed safety of the effects of European mycotoxin policies and help them to fix safe and, at the same time, feasible contamination limits, (ii) to assess about climate change scenario effects on the pathosystem and on future maize-based food and feed products safety, (iii) to assist maize producers in controlling mycotoxin contamination through agro-management and improving maize grain safety. The MIMYCS model has been implemented as a component of the framework BioMA (http://bioma.jrc.ec.europa.eu/), the modelling platform used at the European Commission Joint Research Centre. MIMYCS has been developed as composed by three main model components: MIMYCS.Maize, MIMYCS.Borers, MIMYCS.Fungi. MIMYCS.Maize simulates maize phenological development and it implements the impact of the insect borer damage to the ears, fungi infection and mycotoxin accumulation in maize grain. MIMYCS.Borers simulate two maize borers (Ostrinia nubilalis and Sesamia nonagrioides) development and feeding activity which produces the damage to the ear, enhancing fungi growth and development. MIMYCS.Fungi simulates fungi development and their interactions, using information received from Maize and the Borers modules. Finally, the MIMYCS simulation system, will quantify mycotoxin contamination in maize grain, insect borers damage and fungi infection. The project has been developed in two years and it is funded by Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowships of the European Commission. The poster presentation will present the preliminary results of the project.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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