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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Aflatoxin Mitigation Using Biocontrol in Maize and Groundnut in Zambia

Location: Food and Feed Safety Research

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Train and assist scientists based in Africa with the development of biological control for the management of aflatoxins in Zambia with the goal of optimizing the use of native microbials for the practical management of aflatoxin contamination.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
In collaboration between International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI), potential biological control agents will be collected from soils and crops collected in the target country. 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.


3.Progress Report:

This research project is collaboration between the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the University of Arizona, and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). The work is funded by the Zambia National Mission of the United States Agency for International Development. IITA has its hub in Southern Africa based in Lusaka and several previous collaborators with our lab reside in Zambia. The effective within country interactions have allowed the project to get underway relatively quickly in the first year. Extensive samplings of the corn and peanut crops and associated soils have been performed. Aspergillus flavus isolates were isolated, purified, and put through initial classification at the IITA lab in Ibadan. Isolates were imported under a permit from United States Department of Agricultural, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) to the ARS laboratory in Tucson, AZ, at the University of Arizona and isolates were further characterized in order to select initial isolates for use in biological control of aflatoxin contamination in Zambia. These analyses will continue until the end of 2012. A Zambian national was selected to enter the University of Arizona as a doctoral graduate student and will perform his doctoral research on aflatoxins in Zambia as a component of the project. It is anticipated that the initial field tests of strains from Zambia in farmer’s fields in Zambia will be in 2013. The project was coordinated during the first year by internet, phone, and in person meetings which were held in Tucson, Seattle, and Ibadan. A meeting in Lusaka is planned for September. Overall, this is a well-organized project with several motivated partners that is moving forward according to schedule and should result in providing Zambia with useful aflatoxin management tools.


Last Modified: 4/19/2014
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