Hardy New Corn Lines Released
By Rosalie Marion
October 15, 2009
Six new inbred maize lines with
resistance to aflatoxin contamination have now been registered in the United
States by the Agricultural Research
Service (ARS). ARS plant pathologist
Brown and colleague Abebe Menkir, with the Ibadan, Nigeria-based
International Institute of Tropical
Agriculture, developed the lines.
Brown works at the
and Feed Safety Research Unit in the ARS
Regional Research Center in New Orleans, La.
The new lines are resistant to aflatoxins, which are toxins produced by the
fungus Aspergillus flavus after it infects agricultural commodities such
as corn. Contamination of corn with aflatoxins causes financial losses for
growers and is a potential health hazard to animals and humans.
Found in soil, on crops and in air, A. flavus infects susceptible
crops before harvest, so host resistance is a widely explored strategy to
eliminate aflatoxins. The collaborators first screened and then combined the
top aflatoxin-resistant lines found in the United States with those found in
Central and West Africa.
Brown has also used a highly effective and rapid kernel screening
assay to separate resistant seeds from non-resistant ones. The six lines
have demonstrated good resistance against aflatoxin accumulation in the
researchers laboratory and field tests.
The six maize lines have been described in the Journal of Plant Registrations.
Seeds of the lines are being maintained at the ARS
Center for Genetic Resources Preservation in Fort Collins, Colo.
After being certified disease-free for public release, the
germplasm can be used in public or private breeding programs to develop
aflatoxin-resistant corn lines for growers both nationally and internationally.
more about this researchwhich supports the
U.S. Department of Agriculture priority of
ensuring food safetyin the October 2009 issue of Agricultural
ARS is USDAs principal intramural scientific research agency.