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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Biocontrol of Aflatoxin and Other Mycotoxins in Maize Using Non-toxigenic Strains of Aspergillus flavus

Location: Biological Control of Pests Research Unit

Title: Implications of Bt Traits on Mycotoxin Contamination in Maize: Overview and Recent Experimental Results

Authors
item Abbas, Hamed
item Zablotowiczb, Robert -
item Weaver, Mark
item Shier, Thomas -
item Bruns, Herbert
item Bellaloui, Nacer
item Accinelli, Cesare -
item Abel, Craig

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 10, 2013
Publication Date: June 10, 2013
Citation: Abbas, H. K., Zablotowiczb, R .M., Weaver, M .A., Shier, T. W., Bruns, H. A., Bellaloui, N., Accinelli, C., and Abel, C. A. 2013. Implications of Bt Traits on Mycotoxin Contamination in Maize: Overview and Recent Experimental Results. J. Agri. Food Chem. 61: 11759-11770. doi: 10.1021/jf400754g.

Interpretive Summary: Corn that has been genetically modified to express Bt genes from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis offers growers a useful and economical method to control various insects that endanger production. These insects also spread fungi that contaminate corn grain with various toxins (mycotoxins) that are hazardous to humans and animal health consumption. This article reports the promise and limitations of Bt corn to reduce the threat of contamination of corn by mycotoxins. There is significant evidence that the used of Bt crops can be an important tool promoting food safety.

Technical Abstract: Methods are becoming available to control mycotoxin-producing fungi in pre-harvest crops, including biocontrol and host plant resistance. While published reports since 1999 have associated Bt expression in corn with reduced mycotoxin levels, subsequent field results have been inconsistent. There is an emerging consensus that fumonisin contamination can be reduced by Bt expression, but the effect of Bt on aflatoxin is, at present, inconclusive. New corn hybrids have been introduced with an increased spectrum of insect control and with greater levels of Bt expression. More research is needed in order to identify the conditions under which Bt hybrids can be used to produce corn with lower mycotoxin levels. These new hybrids may be an important tool in mycotoxin reduction in corn if used together with biocontrol and host plant resistance.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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