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Last update: May 2021

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UR 1264 - MYCSA : Mycologie et securite des aliments


Mycologie & Sécurité des Aliments
INRA Bordeaux-Aquitaine
BP 81
33883 Villenave d'Ornon Cedex

Role of tocochromanols in tolerance of cereals to biotic stresses: specific focus on pathogenic and toxigenic fungal species

22 August 2022

Our new review article on plant metabolites

Savignac, J.-M.; Atanasova, V.; Chéreau, S.; Ortéga, V.; Richard-Forget, F. (2022) Role of tocochromanols in tolerance of cereals to biotic stresses: specific focus on pathogenic and toxigenic fungal species. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23, 9303. 


Fungal pathogens capable of producing mycotoxins are one of the main threats to the cultivation of cereals and the safety of the harvested kernels. Improving the resistance of crops to fungal disease and accumulation of mycotoxins is therefore a crucial issue. Achieving this goal
requires a deep understanding of plant defense mechanisms, most of them involving specialized metabolites. However, while numerous studies have addressed the contribution of phenylpropanoids and carotenoids to plant chemical defense, very few have dealt with tocochromanols. Tocochromanols, which encompass tocopherols and tocotrienols and constitute the vitamin E family, are widely distributed in cereal kernels; their biosynthetic pathway has been extensively studied with the aim to enrich plant oils and combat vitamin E deficiency in humans. Here we provide strong assumptions arguing in favor of an involvement of tocochromanols in plant–fungal pathogen interactions. These assumptions are based on both direct effects resulting from their capacity to scavenge reactive oxygen species, including lipid peroxyl radicals, on their potential to inhibit fungal growth and mycotoxin yield, and on more indirect effects mainly based on their role in plant protection against abiotic stresses.