Fusarium species exist as plant pathogens or saprophytes on plant debris and in soil. Plant parasitic Fusarium cause wilting of many plants including crops such tomatoes, bananas, sweet potatoes, pigeon peas, and pears. Some species of Fusarium are commonly isolated from seeds especially those of cereals. Species of Fusarium also produce a number of different mycotoxins which include trichothecenes (T-2 toxin, HT-2 toxin, deoxynivalenol (DON) and nivalenol), zearalenone and fumonisins. The Fusarium species are probably the most prevalent toxin-producing fungi of the northern temperate regions and are commonly found on cereals grown in the temperate regions of America, Europe and Asia. These toxins have been shown to cause a variety of toxic effects in both experimental animals and livestock and are also suspected to cause toxicity in humans.
In indoor environment Fusarium species are commonly found under very wet conditions. They are commonly isolated from carpet and mattress dust; damp walls, wallpaper; polyester polyurethane foam; humidifier pans and other areas where stagnant water occurs in HVAC systems. Some species cause keratitis in man, and infects eyes and finger nails. Fusarium species are also an inhalation hazard.
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