The prevalence and diversity of endophytic Fusarium species on freshly harvested cereals in the central region of Morocco were assessed based on morphological, macroscopic and microscopic characteristics of the fungal flora isolated from 27 grain samples of durum wheat (n=9), soft wheat (n=4), barley (n=8) and maize (n=6). The results revealed the presence of a variety of fungal species. For all isolates (n=564), the genus Alternaria accounted for 53 % and was dominant in the 4 cereals followed by the genus Fusarium (16 %), Aspergillus (14%), Rhizopus (8 %), Bipolaris (3 %), Abzidia (2 %) and others (4 %). In the genus Fusarium, F. proliferatum (24 %) was the most common on the different cereals, followed by F. poae (17 %), F. solani (13 %), F. oxysporum (12 %) and F. Culmorum (10 %). The latter was associated only with durum wheat. The effect of sample geographical origin and plant species on the frequency of fungal species as well as their influence on grain health and quality are discussed.

Keywords: Cereals, Fusarium sp., grain health, endophyte.