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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Dec 15, 2005
End Date: Dec 14, 2010

1. Refine aflatoxin biocontrol technology for peanuts and develop an effective system for achieving biological control of aflatoxins in corn, an important crop grown in rotation with peanuts. 2. Determine characteristics of soil populations important for invasion of peanut seeds by aflatoxigenic fungi and evaluate the competitiveness of nontoxigenic biocontrol strains of A. flavus. 3. Determine the chemical barriers of peanut to fungal challenge, particularly challenge by A. flavus. Investigate the basis for greater resistance to A. flavus invasion and aflatoxin contamination possessed by certain peanut genotypes for possible exploitation in breeding programs. 4. Conduct the necessary laboratory and field trials required by the EPA to extend the use of Aflaguard to other crops susceptible to aflatoxin, such as corn.

Experiments to extend the shelf life of afla-guard(r) will be conducted by producing afla-guard(r) with a variety of oils covering a range of oxidative stabilities. Samples will be placed in long-term storage at 4 degrees, 23 degrees, 30 degrees, 37 degrees, and 44 degrees C and tested once a month to determine the survival and viability of conidia on the coated barley. A multi-year (at least three) study will be conducted to determine the possibility of achieving biological control of aflatoxin contamination of corn. The field tests will include two plantings (3-4 weeks apart) of four treatments in a randomized complete block design with eight replications. Corn will be ground in a Romer subsampling mill, and the quantity and toxigenicity of A. flavus in the corn will be determined. Aflatoxins will be quantified in the same samples. Native fungal populations in 20 different soils will be quantified and species will be identified either directly on the dilution plates or by subculturing to Czapek agar slants. Peanut seeds will be aseptically wounded and inoculated with 7.0 mg of soil paste using a small spatula. Forty seeds will be inoculated with each soil and incubated 14 d at 37 C. Twenty-four uninoculated wounded seeds will serve as controls in each experiment. A. flavus and A. parasiticus sporulating on seeds will be identified by subculturing to Czapek agar slants. In a related series of experiments, nontoxigenic biocontrol strains (conidial-color mutant A. parasiticus NRRL 21369 and a nitrate-nonutilizing mutant of A. flavus NRRL 21882) will be added to soils at different concentrations to examine their interactions with native aflatoxin-producing populations. Aflatoxin analyses of individual seeds will be performed by extracting overnight in methanol and quantifying with high performance liquid chromatography. A series of experiments will be conducted to 1) isolate, identify, and quantify chemicals produced in peanuts in response to fungal invasion; 2) characterize the chemical response of peanuts representing a range of pod/kernel maturity to fungal challenge; 3) characterize the chemical responses of peanuts representing a genotypic range of recognized differences in susceptibility to A. flavus invasion and aflatoxin contamination; 4) characterize peanut wax composition and evaluate different genotypes for peanut wax content and composition.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
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