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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Biological Control of Pests Research » Research » Research Project #444037

Research Project: Optimizing Corn-based Starch "Bioplastic" Formulations to Enhance the Efficacy of Beneficial Pathogens to Control Agricultural Pests

Location: Biological Control of Pests Research

Project Number: 6066-42000-007-005-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2023
End Date: May 31, 2028

Objective:
1. To gain an understanding of the role of formulation and delivery on the efficacy of competitive exclusion products containing isolates of Aspergillus (A.) flavus and other pathogens on the production of aflatoxin and other mycotoxins in harvested crops in order to optimize effectiveness products. 2. To optimize formulations and delivery mechanisms through testing the viability of the formulated biological control agents, formulation shelf life, germination of biological control agents, stability of formulation, and efficacy of the formulation and application. 3. To develop economical biologically-based strategies, including antagonists from soil fungi and bacteria, microbial competitors and antagonists, and natural compounds from biological sources, to minimize contamination by mycotoxins and their respective fungi in corn and other agronomical crops, and to continue ecological studies on Aspergillus populations under various management strategies, e.g., rotations, tillage, and cover crops, and herbicide resistant crops.

Approach:
Characterize the population dynamics of Aspergillus (A.) and other pathogens propagules used in various biocontrol formulations in the environment at various stages of crop development in corn, soybean and other crops. Compare efficacy of various non-toxigenic A. flavus strains as biocontrol agents in field trials. Optimize formulations to maximize efficacy of beneficial pathogens. Utilize classical methods and molecular diagnostic tools to achieve the objective of this project.