Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Aspergillus flavus Genomics: Gateway to Human and Animal Health, Food Safety, and Crop Resistance to Diseases

Authors
item Yu, Jiujiang
item Cleveland, Thomas
item Nierman, William - TIGR ROCKVILLE MD
item Bennett, Joan - TULANE UNIV, NOLA

Submitted to: Revista Iberoamericana De Micologia
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 1, 2005
Publication Date: December 1, 2005
Citation: Yu, J., Cleveland, T.E., Nierman, W.C., Bennett, J. 2005. Aspergillus flavus Genomics: Gateway to Human and Animal Health, Food Safety, and Crop Resistance to Diseases. Revista Iberoamericana De Micologia. 22:194-202.

Interpretive Summary: Aspergillus flavus is an opportunistic pathogen causing invasive and non-invasive aspergillosis in humans, animals and insects. It infects agricultural crops and causes severe ear rot in corn in a severe year. It produces the most toxic and most potent carcinogens, aflatoxins, and contaminates agricultural food and feed commodities. Health risk to humans and animal, as well as economic losses, due to aflatoxin contamination are significant. Understanding the mechanism of aflatoxin formation is important for devising strategies to control the problem. Information obtained through fungal genomics could provide such valuable information. A. flavus genomics is expected to advance the development of therapeutical drugs and to provide information for devising strategies in controlling diseases of humans, animals and plants. It will provide vital clues to scientists and researchers for engineering commercial crops resistant to fungal infection by incorporating an antifungal gene or genes for eliminating aflatoxin contamination.

Technical Abstract: Aspergillus flavus is an imperfect filamentous fungus that has existed in nature for thousands of years. A. flavus is an opportunistic pathogen causing invasive and non-invasive aspergillosis in humans, animals, and insects. It is also an allergen causing allergic reaction in humans. A. flavus infects agricultural crops and stored grains and produces the most toxic and most potent carcinogens, aflatoxins and other mycotoxins. Improvement of human health, food safety and agricultural economy may well depend on breakthroughs in A. flavus genomics. The availability of A. flavus genomic data marks the new era in research on fungal biology, medical mycology, agricultural ecology, pathogenicity, mycotoxin biosynthesis and evolution. The availability of whole genome microarrays will provide scientists with a new powerful tool for studying gene expression under specific conditions. It can be used to identify genes responsible for mycotoxin biosynthesis and for fungal infection in humans, animals and plants. A. flavus genomics is expected to advance the development of therapeutical drugs and to provide information for devising strategies in controlling human and animal diseases. It will provide vital clues for engineering commercial crops resistant to fungal infection by incorporating an antifungal gene or genes for eliminating aflatoxin contamination of agricultural harvests.

Last Modified: 4/23/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page