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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Dawson, Georgia » National Peanut Research Laboratory » Research » Research Project #442663

Research Project: Identifying Aflatoxin Risk in Southeastern Peanuts: High-Throughput Physiological and Hyperspectral Phenotyping of Drought-Resistance

Location: National Peanut Research Laboratory

Project Number: 6044-21600-001-002-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 28, 2023
End Date: Aug 27, 2025

Aflatoxin contamination is a recurring problem in the US 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. Quantify the dynamics of the relative water content decline in the soil and plant, in relation to water-sensitive physiological thresholds (e.g., wilting point, hydraulic failure initiation) will provide the environmental and physiological context necessary to connect aflatoxin risk to environmental and plant states during plant development through harvest. 2. Conduct hyperspectral imaging of plants once they have matured during the drought screening to conduct hyperspectral imaging of all plants during the weekly physiological trait validation measurements on the plant array. 3. Generate a wide range of drought stress levels across plants under a set length of drought, thus simulating what would occur in a field with diverse breeding lines of peanut during a drought spell and unveiling which breeding lines are most resistant.

The Cooperator will collaborate with ARS in conducting research to develop reduce aflatoxin contamination in US peanuts. Specifically, the cooperators will work with ARS in the following approaches: 1) Quantifying critical plant water status below which aflatoxin risk rapidly increases 2) Identify a coordinated suites of traits (mainly aflatoxin) for phenotyping via high-throughput hyperspectral trait prediction models, 3) Provide additional site locations with differing soil and meteorological conditions and 4) Conduct technology transfer activities with the US peanut industry to improve the quality of US peanuts. 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 peanut processing procedures.