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.
This project is a collaboration among Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and Doreo Partners, a private Nigeria based agricultural consulting firm. The funding is from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) through the Meridian Institute. The Meridian Institute is overseeing all the initial funds directed at managing aflatoxins in Africa and at the formation of the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA), a newly formed organ of the African Union. Since initiating this project, ARS scientists have participated in the conceptualization and design of a manufacturing process and demonstration facility for the production of atoxigenic biocontrol products for the prevention of aflatoxin contamination. Since inception in March, the project has been coordinated through visits to Tucson, AZ,by IITA scientists and Ibadan by ARS scientists and by internet and phone. The visit to Ibadan included meeting with the steering committee of PACA and updating them on efforts to push biocontrol out across Africa. PACA supported researchers also met in Washington DC, and Nairobi earlier in the year. Activities have also been initiated directed at selecting biocontrol strains of optimal value in the target nations and the target agroecosystems. This has already included further genetic analysis of potential African biocontrol strains already in hand, initiation of sampling in Tanzania and will include initiation of activities in Ghana later this year. Overall, the project is making concerted effort to solve technical challenges associated with adapting biocontrol of aflatoxins to sub-Saharan Africa and to the creation of cost effective solutions for preventing crop contamination with aflatoxins within the target nations. The program is monitored by periodic reports, presentations, and internet communication.