AFLATOXIN CONTROL THROUGH TARGETING MECHANISMS GOVERNING AFLATOXIN BIOSYNTHESIS IN CORN AND COTTONSEED
Location: Food and Feed Safety Research
Title: The omics tools genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and their potential for solving the aflatoxin contamination problem
Submitted to: World Mycotoxin Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 6, 2008
Publication Date: February 1, 2008
Citation: Bhatnagar, D., Rajasekaran, K., Payne, G.A., Brown, R.L., Yu, J., Cleveland, T.E. 2008. The "omics" tools: genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and their potential for solving the aflatoxin contamination problem. World Mycotoxin Journal. 1(1):3-12.
Aflatoxins are highly carcinogenic secondary metabolites produced primarily by the fungi Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus. Aflatoxin contamination of food and feed is an age old problem of particular concern over the last four decades. Now for the first time, control measures for this problem appear within reach. For practical and sustainable control of aflatoxin contamination to be realized, however, additional information is needed rather rapidly, particularly for understanding the specific molecular factors (both in the plant and the fungus) involved during host plant-fungus interaction. The information derived from the use of novel tools such as genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics provides us with the best and the quickest opportunity to achieve a clear understanding of the survival of toxigenic fungi in the field, the ability of the fungus to invade crops, and the process of toxin contamination under various environmental conditions. Significant progress has been made recently in understanding the genomic make-up of the most significant aflatoxin-producing field fungus, namely Aspergillus flavus. Progress also has been made in the study of host crop resistance to fungal invasion through the use of proteomics. The information available on production of aflatoxin and other metabolites by Aspergillus flavus is reasonably extensive, although the application of metabolomics as a tool in this study is relatively new. In this report, the use of genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics in deriving the requisite information required for developing effective strategies to interrupt the machinery in the fungus for production of these toxins, as well as to assist in the development of host-resistance against fungal invasion and aflatoxin contamination of crops is discussed.