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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES, ECOLOGICAL AND VARIETAL EFFECTS ON AFLATOXINS AND OTHER MYCOTOXINS IN CORN

Location: Biological Control of Pests Research Unit

Title: Detection of aflatoxigenic aspergillus flavus contamination of coconut (cocos nucifera) nutmeat (copra) using ammonia treatment

Authors
item Abbas, Hamed
item Shier, Thomas -
item Weaver, Mark
item Horn, Bruce

Submitted to: American Phytopathology Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 14, 2012
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: For many crops government regulations define mycotoxin contamination levels that represent the primary determinants of quality, value and possible uses of crops. Quality can be raised in some crops by lowering the mycotoxin level through removal of infected products. In the case of copra, the dried nutmeat of the coconut, hand sorting to remove Aspergillus flavus-contaminated copra is an effective remediation strategy. However, typically only about one third of A. flavus contaminants in plants are aflatoxigenic, so it would be useful to have a method to visually distinguish aflatoxigenic from non-aflatoxigenic A. flavus contamination of copra. We have applied to copra the cultural method for identifying aflatoxigenic A. flavus in which ammonia exposure is used to raise the pH, changing the color of anthraquinone pigments associated with the aflatoxin biosynthetic pathway from yellow to a much more visible red. Aflatoxigenic A. flavus was readily differentiated from non-aflatoxigenic A. flavus on copra by the appearance of red color after ammonia exposure, particularly along break lines. These studies suggest ammonia exposure would be a useful addition to aflatoxin remediation practices in copra and possibly other crops.

Last Modified: 4/20/2014
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