ISM & Mycored

Work Programme

The work program is organised in 10 work packages (WP), each one with specific targets and objectives, defined by deliverables and milestones.

WP 1. Optimization of plant resistance & fungicide use

Targets: wheat (deoxynivalenol, nivalenol), maize (fumonisins).  The objectives are: a)  to decrease toxin contamination by Fusarium head blight (FHB) and Fusarium ear rot (FER) in wheat and maize; b) to characterize host factors that influence mycotoxin regulation and metabolism in wheat and maize(Tasks 1.2, 1.3);c) to optimize fungicide use in wheat and maize(Task 1.4).

WP 2. Biocontrol reducing mycotoxins in cropping systems

Targets: maize (fumonisins and aflatoxins), wheat (mycotoxins), grape-wine (ochratoxin A), peanuts (aflatoxins).
The objectives are a) to prevent fumonisin formation in maize and mycotoxin formation in wheat by competitive colonization of stubbles of preceding maize crops; b) to reduce ochratoxin A content in grape-wine by antagonistic micro-organisms; c) to reduce mycotoxin content in wheat by antagonistic micro-organisms; d) to reduce aflatoxin contents in nuts and maize by non-toxigenic Aspergillus flavus strains; e) to evaluate the economical feasibility of production and marketing of selected biocontrol agents.

WP 3. Modelling and development of Decision Support System

Targets: maize (fumonisins and aflatoxins), wheat (mycotoxins), grape-wine (ochratoxin A), nuts (pistachio and peanuts) (aflatoxins).
The objective is to use predictive models for mycotoxin producing fungi to forecast risk level associated to different crops in different geographic areas and years mainly based on meteorological conditions. The use of predictive models will allow a) to describe the contamination level of different crops in real time and predict its value at harvesting to rationalise the harvest/post-harvest logistic; b) to simulate the effect of cropping system and post harvest conditions to optimise pre-and post-harvest product management; c) to draw different scenarios based on real and simulated meteorological data.

WP 4. Novel post-harvest and storage handling practices

Targets: maize (fumonisins and aflatoxins), wheat (trichothecenes, ochratoxin A), peanuts (aflatoxins) and nuts (aflatoxins).
The objective of this WP is to develop innovative and novel practical strategies for post-harvest handling which can minimise mycotoxin exposure in the food and feed chains. The WP will a) determine the relationship between respiratory activity in a stored grain ecosystem of mycotoxigenic moulds and toxin production for systems modelling of efficient drying and storage regimes for safe storage; b) develop novel environmental and physical drying and control systems which can be used for grain  and nut handling and storage to minimise mycotoxin contamination; c) examine the efficacy of novel potentiators for inhibition of mycotoxigenic moulds by synergistic effects on mixtures of contaminating mycotoxins by using traditional and ‘omics’ technology; d) develop an ambient intelligence system for predicting and controlling fungal contamination.

WP 5. Novel application of food processing technologies

Targets: maize (fumonisins and aflatoxins), wheat (mycotoxins), nuts (almond, pistachios and apricot seeds) (aflatoxins).
The specific objectives are: a) to reduce gastrointestinal absorption of mycotoxins by using dietary fibres; b)   to metabolize mycotoxins by microorganisms; c)   to assess the efficacy and safety of food processing procedures in reducing mycotoxin content. The multi-mycotoxin approach will be used to measure the efficacy of the proposed procedures.

WP 6. Advanced technologies for diagnostics, quantitative detection and novel approaches to control toxigenic fungi

Targets: maize (fumonisins and aflatoxins), wheat (trichothecenes and other toxins), grapes (ochratoxin A) and  dried fruits (aflatoxins). The overall objective is to study the biodiversity of toxigenic fungi and to develop new, rapid, cheap and robust molecular methods for detection, quantification and monitoring the biosynthesis of mycotoxins on specific hosts. The WP will a) study the toxigenic fungal biodiversity by using the developed molecular methods to monitor mycotoxin risks b) analyze the influence of stress on the activation of ochratoxin A (OTA) biosynthetic genes in Penicillium, fumonisins inFusariumand aflatoxins (AFBs) in Aspergillus; c) study the influence of stress on the biosynthesis of mycotoxins; d) develop new approaches to prevent mycotoxin biosynthesis based on principles developed in this WP.

WP 7. Advanced analytical tools for rapid multi-toxins detection of mycotoxins and relevant biomarkers

Targets: maize (fumonisins and aflatoxins), wheat (mycotoxins), peanuts (aflatoxins). The main objective of the horizontal WP7 is to provide or validate analytical methods required in this project and beyond for mycotoxin determination including a) multi-toxin analyses, metabolite profiling and identification by LC-MS/MS to monitor the conjugation, transformation and bio-degradation of mycotoxins in plants and fungal isolates; b)multi-mycotoxin biomarkers for trichothecenes, zearalenone and fumonisins; c) rapid methods for mycotoxin detection and quantification including lateral flow devices and fluorescence polarisation methods.

WP 8. Information/dissemination and education

Targets: maize (fumonisins and aflatoxins), wheat (trichothecenes and other toxins), grapes (ochratoxin A) and  dried fruits (aflatoxins).
Objectives: a)
improve co-operation in the area by transfer of knowledge to developing countries (Africa, Asia, South America) and sharing information with advanced third countries (USA, Canada and Australia) by conferences, workshops, training and short mobility missions; b) identify priorities of common interest by sharing results of European research with the major international networks involved in the field of mycotoxins and toxigenic fungi;c) address the evaluation of research policy at the global level through conferences focused on advanced research tools; d) reinforce the consortiumof international experts in the area of mycotoxins and toxigenic fungi.

WP 9. General Management

Objectives: a) steering the project so that it remains relevant in spite of the changes that may occur in the area; b) ensure that the project progresses as described in the work plan; c) achieve maximum efficiency of the infrastructure available to support the project, with special attention paid to financial, logistic, information, and coordination issues in terms of quality and conformity to EC rules and procedures.

WP 10. Demonstrating the creation of an “ambient intelligence (AmI)”, strategies post-harvest and the collection of physical parameters

Targets: maize (fumonisins and aflatoxins), wheat (trichothecenes and other toxins). 
Objectives: a) demonstrate how the techniques and methodologies developed in WP4 are useful to control the development/production of mycotoxins and they are appropriate for the purpose of the project.

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