Lipid molecules are increasingly recognized as signals exchanged by organisms interacting in pathogenic and/or symbiotic ways. Some classes of lipids actively determine the fate of the interactions. Host cuticle/cell wall/membrane components such as sphingolipids and oxylipins may contribute to determining the fate of host–pathogen interactions. In the present field study, we considered the relationship between specific sphingolipids and oxylipins of different hybrids of Zea mays and fumonisin by F. verticillioides, sampling ears at different growth stages from early dough to fully ripe. The amount of total and free fumonisin differed significantly between hybrids and increased significantly with maize ripening. Oxylipins and phytoceramides changed significantly within the hybrids and decreased with kernel maturation, starting from physiological maturity. Although the correlation between fumonisin accumulation and plant lipid profile is certain, the data collected so far cannot define a cause-effect relationship but open up new perspectives. Therefore, the question—“Does fumonisin alter plant lipidome or does plant lipidome modulate fumonisin accumulation?”—is still open.
The manuscript is available open-access via Toxins Journal.