Submitted to: Corn Dry Milling Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/2/2005
Publication Date: 6/2/2005
Citation: Dowd, P.F. 2005. Mycotoxin prediction program update. In: Kendra, D., and Harper, R., eds. Corn Dry Milling Conference Proceedings. North American Millers Association. June 2-3, 2005, Peoria, IL. p. 8.
Technical Abstract: Potential problems with aflatoxin and continual problems with fumonisin above FDA guideline levels for humans and animals in the Midwest/corn belt corn, where approximately 85% of U.S. corn is grown, cause continual challenges. Management strategies, such as insect or fungal control, or early harvest, could be more economically implemented if some reasonable predictability of incidence or levels was available. A predictive computer program developed in 1999 by USDA in Peoria has been involved in validation studies since 2000 in commercial fields. Since the last report to the Corn Dry Millers Conference, the computer program for predicting mycotoxins has been additionally validated in 2003 and 2004. After removing one outlier, a correlation coefficient of 0.86 was obtained in comparing actual vs. predicted values for fumonisin for commercial field data from 2000-2003 involving a few dozen hybrids and fields. Although not incorporated into the correlation analysis yet, all predictions and actual values for 2004 for fumonisins were less than 0.5 ppm. No aflatoxin was predicted to be present in either 2003 or 2004, and no samples had aflatoxin. A collaborative relationship between Illinois Central College and USDA fostered through Peoria NEXT events has led to the conversion of the original DOS program to a Windows version. Additions to the Windows version include: an extensive help menu showing pests and fungi, among other things; and a "custom" module whereby calculations can be customized for hybrids which fall outside the generalized predictions (so far only an occasional occurrence). The compiled version was received in late 2004 and revisions supplied in early 2005. An updated version, which also incorporates some minor algorithm revisions, has become available and is undergoing final revisions. Once the new Windows version becomes available, current plans are to distribute it for comment and put it on a website with password access so that it can be more widely tested and further feedback provided. An economic analysis module is partially written, but could benefit from suggested input from corn buyers. Due to a press release in late December 2004, considerable world-wide interest in the program has been generated. The program has been demonstrated in net conferencing with some companies under confidentiality agreements. Current plans also include continuing the cooperative effort with local farmers in the Central Illinois Irrigated Growers Association to validate the program with additional food grade lines of corn, including popcorn.