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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: GENETIC AND GENOMIC APPROACHES TO IMPROVE PEANUT AND CORN RESISTANCE TO DISEASE AND AFLATOXIN CONTAMINATION Title: Crop stress and aflatoxin contamination: perspectives and prevention strategies.

Authors
item Guo, Baozhu
item Yu, Jiujiang
item Ni, Xinzhi
item Lee, Dewey -
item Kemerait, Robert -
item Scully, Brian

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: November 14, 2011
Publication Date: January 13, 2012
Citation: Guo, B., Yu, J., Ni, X., Lee, R.D., Kemerait, R.C., Scully, B.T. 2012. Crop stress and aflatoxin contamination: Perspectives and prevention strategies. In: Venkateswarlu, B., Shanker, A.K., Shanker, C., Maheswari, M., editors. Crop Stress and its Management: Perspectives and Strategies. London, NY: Dordrecht Heidelberg Springer. p. 399-427.

Interpretive Summary: Aflatoxins are among the most potent naturally occurring carcinogens. The infection and colonization of corn and peanut may result in the accumulation of several carcinogenic aflatoxins. Aflatoxin is not only as a risk factor for cancer but has immunologic and nutritional effects associated modulation with the infectious diseases such as HIV. The production of aflatoxin is exacerbated by exposure of crops to elevated temperatures and drought stress. The importance of crop management practices that reduce aflatoxin contamination became apparent when research revealed that most of the agronomic factors that influence aflatoxin contamination are those which can be controlled by the producer. In addition to the management of the agronomic practices, genetic based host plant resistance to biological and environmental stress factors holds much promise. Host plant resistance to aflatoxin contamination is a complex trait, and dissecting this trait is an equally complex task. With the technological breakthrough in genomics and next-generation sequencing, our understanding on the Aspergillus biology is greatly enhanced. This review aggregates the rich aflatoxin literature and focuses on the factors that cause the stress execrably and increase the aflatoxin contamination of grains before and after harvest. Further discussions are potential future prevention technology and strategies that could be employed to guide future research, such as “next-generation” genetics.

Technical Abstract: The fungal metabolites called aflatoxins are potent naturally occurring carcinogens, produced primarily by Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus. A. flavus affects many agricultural crops such as maize, cotton, peanuts, and tree nuts. It can contaminate these crops with aflatoxins in the field before harvest. It is a serious concern because of its toxic and carcinogenic properties and also due to the risk of contamination in food and feed on human health and livestock. It is not only a serious food safety issue, but it has significant economic implications for the agricultural industry worldwide because of restrictions limiting the trade of contaminated crop. Host plant resistance is an effective, efficient and dependable tool to protect crops from the preharvest infection and aflatoxin contamination processes. Host plant resistance to aflatoxin contamination is a complex trait, and dissecting this trait is an equally complex task. With the technological breakthrough in genomics and next-generation sequencing, our understanding on the Aspergillus biology is greatly enhanced. This chapter aggregates the rich aflatoxin literature and focuses on the factors that cause the stress execrably and increase the aflatoxin contamination of grains before and after harvest. Further discussed are potential future prevention technology and strategies that could be employed to guide future research, such as “next-generation” genetics.

Last Modified: 12/25/2014
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