Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have discovered a nontoxic Aspergillus flavus strain, called “K49,” for controlling aflatoxin contamination in corn. Aflatoxin outbreaks lower corn’s market value—causing several hundred million dollars in crop losses annually in the southern United States, and losses can occur wherever corn is grown. Approximately 9.9 million acres of corn were planted in the United States last year (USDA-NASS, 2005) for both grain and silage use. Aflatoxin contamination can reduce marketability of corn grain, lowering the price that farmers receive for their harvests. In addition, severely contaminated grain has no commercial value, and contaminated grain disposal is difficult and costly. Existing fungicides ineffectively control aflatoxin contamination. ARS’s technology competes with toxin-producing aflatoxin strains already present in the environment and reduces infection by harmful strains. This invention is environmentally friendly and should be economical to produce.
Companies that manufacture agricultural chemicals could use this technology. Field trials are needed to test for specific commercial applications and technology scale-up. In addition, Environmental Protection Agency approval will be needed to use this technology as a fungicide in corn. The current invention is a solid formulation used in ground applications before flowering. The researchers are developing a liquid formulation for foliar application.
Please refer to S.N. 11/033,352 (Docket #0142.04), “Biocontrol of Aflatoxin in Corn by Inoculation with Non-Aflatoxigenic Aspergillus Flavus Isolates,” filed on January 11, 2005. Foreign rights are available.
Hamed K. Abbas Robert M. Zablotowicz
Crop Genetics and Production Research Southern Weed Science Research
Stoneville, MS 38776-0350 Stoneville, MS 38776-0350
(662)686-5313 / Fax: (662)686-5218 (662)686-5272 / Fax: (662)686-5422