|Rajasekaran, Kanniah - Rajah|
Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2005
Publication Date: 12/15/2005
Citation: Rajasekaran, K., Bhatnagar, D., Brown, R.L., Chen, Z.-Y., Cary, J.W., Cleveland, T.E. 2005. Enhancing food safety: Prevention of preharvest aflatoxin contamination. In: Ramasamy, C., Ramanathan, S. and Dhakshinamoorthy, M., editors. Perspectives of Agricultural Research and Development. India: Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. p. 434-467.
Technical Abstract: Aflatoxin contamination is an international food safety problem causing enormous economic losses in several crops, including corn, cottonseed, peanut, and tree nuts. Aflatoxins frequently contaminate agricultural commodities and thus pose serious health hazards to both humans and domestic animals. More than 50 countries have established or proposed regulations for controlling aflatoxins in foods and feeds, and at least 15 have regulations for levels of other mycotoxins. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has set limits of 20 ppb total aflatoxins for interstate commerce of food and feed, and 0.05 ppb of aflatoxin B1 for sale of milk. The most practical solution to this problem would be to prevent the contamination process in crops before harvest. One of the easiest technologies to implement by growers would be to utilize crop germplasm that possess greatly enhanced resistance to aflatoxin contamination. A major goal of the research project in our labs is to elucidate the complex natural resistance mechanisms in crops, such as corn, peanut, and cotton. Understanding the molecular basis of seed-based resistances will lead to identification of biochemical factors correlated with resistance for use in marker-assisted breeding and/or when pertinent resistance genes are identified and cloned, for use in enhancement of resistance in crops through genetic engineering. Promising solutions for prevention of preharvest aflatoxin contamination of several food and feed crops, especially through biotechnology, are presented in this review.