Submitted to: Crop Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/28/2004
Publication Date: 2/25/2005
Citation: Abbas, H.K., Cartwright, R.D., Xie, W., Shier, W.T. 2005. Aflatoxin and fumonisin contamination of commercial corn (maize, zea mays). Crop Protection Journal. Vol. 25: 1-9.
Interpretive Summary: Aflatoxins and fumonisins are mycotoxins that are associated with animal and human diseases. Removing or even reducing this contamination is a high priority for food and feed safety. In this study, both mycotoxins (aflatoxins and fumonisins) were found to be much more of a problem under hot, dry weather conditions. This suggests that monitoring of the corn crop for mycotoxins is more important under conditions of plant stress and that alleviation of stress during the growing season might help reduce toxin contamination.
Technical Abstract: A severe infestation by aflatoxin-producing fungi diminished the food quality of the southern US corn (maize) crop in 1998. Commercial corn hybrids (21 in 1998; 29 in 1999; and 15 in 2001; later years included some hybrids evaluated in 1998) were evaluated for resistance to mycotoxin contamination when naturally infected with Fusarium spp. and Aspergillus spp. At harvest, samples were evaluated for the presence of aflatoxins and fumonisins. In 1998, kernel corn samples from all hybrids exceeded 20 ppb aflatoxin (mean 21 to 699 ppb)and 2 ppm fumonisins (mean 23 to 79 ppm). Samples from hybrids planted in the same and other locations in Arkansas in 1999 and 2001 were shown by similar methods to contain aflatoxin levels ranging from none detected to 255.3 ppb and fumonisin levels from 0.3 to 83.6 ppm. The fumonisin levels in 2001 corn hybrids were very high in all hybrids, ranging from 8 to 83.6 ppm, while aflatoxin levels were very low, ranging from <5 in most hybrids to 131 ppb. The presence of aflatoxin (B1 and B2) in samples was confirmed by TLC and LC/APCI/MS and fumonisins (FB1, FB2, FB3, FB4 and FC4) by LC/ESI/MS. The results are consistent with stress conditions affecting production of mycotoxins in corn by A. flavus and Fusarium spp.