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 and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) 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 continued selection of endemic (natural or native) biocontrol agents (non-toxin producing strains of the fungus Aspergillus (A.) flavus) for Kenya. Evaluation of the first atoxigenic strain for Kenya Aflasafe KEO1 in farmers fields is underway. First year results indicated over 80% reductions in aflatoxin content as a result of a single application at 10kg/ha. Kenyan and IITA collaborators have taken the lead with activities in Kenya. Samples are shipped from Kenya to ARS laboratories periodically and molecular and chemical analyses are performed to assist assessments. ARS scientists examine diversity of A. flavus in Kenya and assist with selection of optimal biocontrol strains. ARS scientist did not travel to Kenya during this reporting period. The scientist trained in Tucson from the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute returned to his host institute. A second scientist from the Kenya Pest Control Products Board, spent three months in the ARS lab in Tucson on a Cochran Fellowship in order to be trained in handling aflatoxin producing fungi and assessing atoxigenic strain products.
ARS PI monitoring activities to evaluate research progress included: phone calls/conference calls, site visits, email communications, field days, outreach activities, biannual meetings, review of Accomplishment Report.