Seeds of Aflatoxin-Resistant Corn Lines Available
By Rosalie Marion
May 20, 2010
Six new corn inbred lines with
resistance to aflatoxin contamination have been found to be free of seed-borne
diseases foreign to the United States, and seeds of these lines are now
available in the United States for further development toward
commercialization. Agricultural Research
Service (ARS) plant pathologist
Brown, working in collaboration with Abebe Menkir at the
International Institute of Tropical
Agriculture in Ibadan, Nigeria, developed the lines.
Brown works at the
and Feed Safety Research Unit in the ARS
Regional Research Center in New Orleans, La. The six inbred lines have been
dubbed TZAR101, 102, 103, 104, 105, and 106.
Aflatoxins are cancer-causing toxins produced by the fungus Aspergillus
flavus after it infects agricultural commodities such as corn. A. flavus
fungi are found in soil, on crops and in air. Contamination of corn with
aflatoxins is a potential health hazard to animals and humans, and causes
financial losses for growers. Crop resistance has become a widely explored
strategy to eliminate aflatoxins in corn because of the large amount of genetic
diversity in this crop.
ARS plant geneticist
Millard in Ames, Iowa, arranged a quarantined growout of the seeds at the
ARS station on the island of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. After quarantined
seed was imported into St. Croix and planted, resulting plants and ears were
inspected to ensure they were free of any foreign seed-borne diseases. This
"certified" seed then was shipped to Ames, Iowa, processed, and
stored in the ARS collection.
The seed can be obtained and planted in the United States for further
evaluation for resistance to aflatoxin. Seed samples of these and other lines
can be obtained from the ARS
Central Regional Plant Introduction Station in Ames.
Data from further evaluations will provide insight as to the value of these
lines in breeding for resistance to aflatoxin. ARS is the principal intramural
scientific research agency of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA). This research supports the USDA priority
of ensuring food safety.