2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Perform research to optimize biological control of aflatoxins and assist scientists based in Africa with the development of biological control for the management of aflatoxins in Ghana, Mali, Tanzania 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.
Work is performed both by collaborators in Africa and in the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) laboratory in Tucson. ARS scientists participated in the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) Strategy Development Stakeholder Consultation Workshop that was held in Dar Es Salaam which included technical assistance to the meeting and participants and to the PACA Steering Committee. ARS scientists also participated in the Inception Workshop of Mitigation of Aflatoxin with Biocontrol in Maize and Groundnut in Mozambique with governmental, university, non-governmental, and private sector stakeholders and visited potential sites at which a Mozambique biocontrol laboratory might be set up including Uni Lorio (Universidade Lúrio). Protocols for genetic analyses of fungal communities continued to be improved and ARS personnel continued to be trained to increase efficiency and accuracy. Seventeen variable genes were examined to characterize genetic groups of fungus of potential value in biocontrol. Eighteen groups were found to be competitive and distributed in more than one African country. And several were found in more than 3 countries. These results will aid development of regional biocontrol products. Genetic analyses have been initiated on just over 5,000 Aspergillus flavus isolates and for over 2,400 isolates the analyses have been completed. One genetic group has been detected in East (including Somalia and Kenya), West (including Côte d’Ivoire and Benin [isolates from the 1990s]), and Southern Africa (Zambia and Zimbabwe) and in North America. This unusually broadly distributed genetic group will be reported on, in the American Phytopathological Society Meetings by an ARS Student Intern. A better understanding of which fungi will be best for biocontrol will be garnered as the number of fungi examined and the distribution of origins of examined isolates increase.
ARS PI monitoring activities to evaluate research progress included: phone calls/conference calls, on-site Cooperator/ARS meetings, site visits, email communications, field days, outreach activities, discussions at professional conferences/meetings, review of Accomplishment Report.