Effect of cultural conditions on the production of radicinin, a specific fungal phytotoxin for buffelgrass (Cenchrus ciliaris) biocontrol, by different Cochlioboulus australiensis strains.
Radicinin is a phytotoxic fungal dihydropyranopyran-4,5-dione under evaluation for the development of a target-specific bioherbicide for invasive buffelgrass (Cenchrus ciliaris) control. It has already demonstrated high toxicity on host plants, low toxicity to native plants and no negative effects on zebrafish embryos. To continue these studies at the whole-plant level there is a need to obtain much larger quantities of radicinin, either by optimizing its large-scale production by fungal fermentation or through its total stereoselective synthesis. A rapid and sensitive HPLC method for quantification of radicinin in complex mixtures has been developed in order to evaluate its production by different Cochliobolus australiensis strains and in different cultural conditions. The analysis proved that radicinin is not produced by all the strains tested and its synthesis is strongly affected by cultural conditions. The HPLC method could be useful in selecting the best fungal source for the production of this promising potential bioherbicide.