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Mycotoxins are toxins produced by molds (fungi) and can accumulate in crops, where they pose health hazards to humans and animals. Mycotoxins are estimated to affect 25% of the world’s crops and cost US agriculture approximately $1 billion each year.
All efforts to monitor and reduce mycotoxin contamination require reliable methods that detect and measure mycotoxins. Therefore, a major goal of MPM research is to develop sensitive and cost effective methods for detecting and measuring mycotoxins.
Some fungi cause crop diseases and produce mycotoxins in diseased crops. The severity of disease and mycotoxin contamination is affected by temperature, drought and other conditions. MPM scientists are determining whether some of these effects can be used to reduce mycotoxin contamination.
Biological factors affect the presence and severity of mycotoxin contamination. A critical factor is species of fungi that infect crops, because species vary in ability to make mycotoxins. MPM scientists are developing genetic tools to distinguish species that produce mycotoxins from those that do not.
MPM houses the ARS Culture Collection (NRRL), which is the largest public collection of agriculturally, medically and industrially important bacteria and fungi in the world. These microbes are critical to USDA research and thousands of these strains are distributed annually in response to requests from other scientists in the U.S. and around the world.
The Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research is located in Peoria, IL and is part of the Midwest Area.
The Research Leader is Todd Ward.
Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Res.
1815 N. University Street
Peoria, IL 61604