SUMMARY: In the course of a plant disease survey of the Malaysian Peninsula (Malaysia comprises the Malaysian Peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak) during the period 1981-1986, more than 1000 isolates of were obtained from diseased plants and seeds. Two further isolates were obtained from patients admitted to hospitals in the same area. The occurrences of and are new records for the Malaysian Peninsula and the association of and var. with human diseases does not seem to have been reported previously. Ten representative species which could be classified into seven sections of the genus were selected for studies of their toxigenicity in liquid cultures and/or on rice. Crude toxin preparations from culture filtrates or extracts of the inoculated rice were tested for toxicity to brine shrimp larvae and tobacco mesophyll protoplasts. The protoplasts were more sensitive than the brine shrimp larvae to the toxin preparations, except those from the isolates of and var. obtained from either humans or tobacco. The toxicity of the preparations from rice cultures per g rice was always greater than the toxicity per ml of culture filtrates from cultures grown on Czapek-Dox broth, Czapek-Dox supplemented with 1% (w/v) peptone or Czapek-Dox supplemented with 5% (w/v) tobacco extract. The activity of all toxin preparations was stable to heat. It is concluded that the occurrence of toxigenic species of in the Malaysian Peninsula is widespread and that they may pose a serious threat to the health of human, animal and plant populations.


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