1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Assist scientists based in Africa with the development of biological control for the management of aflatoxins in Kenya and Nigeria with the goal of optimizing the use of native microbials for the practical management of aflatoxin contamination.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Potential biological control agents will be collected from soils and crops collected in the target countries. Techniques will be developed to provide information useful in selecting optimal biological control strains. Assistance will be provided for the training of African scientists in order to improve the capacity of the target nations to contribute improvements to biological control. Field and laboratory experience will be used to troubleshoot problems associated with adapting biological control to the target areas.
This work is a collaboration between the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Agricultural Research Service (ARS). Activities include interactions with several national partners in both Nigeria and Kenya and the United States Department of Agricultural, Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA/FAS) staff at the embassy in Nairobi has been particularly involved in the process. Funds for this agreement come from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) through a grant directly to IITA. ARS is a sub-grantee. Activities over the past year have included selection of endemic (natural or native) biocontrol agents (non-toxin producing strains of the fungus Aspergillus flavus) for Kenya, performing on station trials in Kenya of select biocontrol agents, development of a four strain biocontrol product for Kenya, commercial trials in Nigeria of a biocontrol product made of four atoxigenic strains endemic to Nigeria, and initiation of field trials in farmer’s fields of the biocontrol product composed of four atoxigenic strains endemic to Kenya in regions of Kenya with high incidence of contamination. Several meetings with scientists and administrators with the Ministry of Agriculture were held in order to secure required permissions and to ensure broad understanding of the value of and requirements for atoxigenic strain biological control agents. Similar meetings had been held in Nigeria in previous years. A scientist from Kenya was trained in microbiology, aflatoxin analyses, and tracking atoxigenic strains in the ARS laboratory in Tucson, AZ, and another was trained in the IITA laboratory in Nigeria. A meeting with IITA, ARS, and BMGF about progress and potential future paths of this project was held in June at the headquarters of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, WA. This project is moving rapidly forward towards producing practical aflatoxin management tools for use in Nigeria and Kenya.