This study aimed to investigate the potential of in vitro wheat model as biofactory for masked mycotoxin production. Micropropagated durum wheat organs (leaves and roots) were treated during a 14-day time span on a proper medium spiked with deoxynivalenol (DON). After the treatment, DON absorption from culture media was evaluated while roots and leaves were profiled by UHPLC-HRMS to investigate the DON biotransformation products. A total of 10 metabolites have been annotated in both roots and leaves. In particular, 5 phase I metabolites never reported before were putatively identified, suggesting the viability of the model as a tool to investigate the interplay between mycotoxins and wheat. In addition, 5 phase II metabolites previously reported in wheat grown under open field conditions, were identified in both roots and leaves, thus demonstrating the reliability of the cultured organs as model system for wheat plants. An organ-dependent difference in DON uptake and biotransformation was observed, since roots contained a high amount of untransformed DON, while leaves were able to effectively biotransform DON to its glycosylated form and other relevant metabolites. With the perspective of using cultured organs as biofactories for modified mycotoxin production, leaves seemed therefore to offer the best absorption and production yield.
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