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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Dawson, Georgia » National Peanut Research Laboratory » Research » Research Project #440638

Research Project: Reducing Aflatoxin Contamination in United States Peanuts

Location: National Peanut Research Laboratory

Project Number: 6044-21000-006-002-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 15, 2021
End Date: Aug 14, 2026

Aflatoxin contamination is a recurring problem in the U.S. peanut industry leading to millions of dollars to remove prior to consumption. Aflatoxin cost are incurred at all segments of the industry and mitigating this problem will improve the economic stability of the entire industry and lead to industry growth. Thus, the overall goal of this project is to conduct research toward improving peanut quality in peanut through various approaches. Specific objectives include: 1. Investigate various molecular and genetic methods (RNA interference, breeding). 2. Develop improved agronomic and post-harvest strategies (curing and storage) to reduce aflatoxin manageable levels with the ultimate goal of eliminating aflatoxin. 3. Understand the role of peanut hull structure, insects, and pathogens in relation to aflatoxin pathway and contamination. 5. Evaluate nanoparticles-based techniques for rapid detection of aflatoxin B1 in peanut. 4. Explore other mechanisms to reduce aflatoxin.

In a systems approach involving fundamental and applied components, the Cooperator will collaborate with ARS in conducting research to develop reduce aflatoxin. Specifically, the cooperators will work with ARS in the following approaches: 1) Evaluating peanut hull structure of peanut cultivars and germplasm under varying pre and post harvest environmental conditions with respect to the aflatoxin pathway, 2) Understanding the physical and mechanical properties of peanut kernels and hulls, 3) evaluating nanoparticles-based techniques for rapid detection of aflatoxin, and 4) conduct post-harvest management studies of insect pests in stored product environments focusing on aflatoxin management during storage. The results of the various research components will be published in refereed journals, trade magazines, or extension articles, presented at professional and grower meetings. Information from the research will be integrated into standard pecan processing procedures.