Submitted to: Biological Control: A Global Perspective
Publication Type: Book / chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2006
Publication Date: 1/15/2007
Citation: Cotty, P.J., Antilla, L., Wakelyn, P.J. 2007. Competitive exclusion of aflatoxin producers: Farmer driven research and development. In: Vincent, C., Goettel, N., Lazarovitis, G., editors. Biological Control: A Global Perspective. Oxfordshire: CAB International. p. 241-253. Interpretive Summary: Aflatoxins are toxic fungal metabolites that can inhibit human development, cause cancer and even induce death. For over 15 years, biological control of aflatoxin contamination with strains of Aspergillus flavus has been investigated. Development of such biological control strategies is extremely difficult and time consuming. ARS developed a collaboration with industry and university partners to develop this biological control from the laboratory scale to full commercial use. The end result is a process for development and implementation of biological control that may benefit other biocontrol systems.
Technical Abstract: Biocontrol control of aflatoxin contamination based on atoxigenic strains of Aspergillus flavus has been investigated for over 15 years. This strategy for the prevention of aflatoxin utilizes naturally occurring isolates of the causal agent of aflatoxin contamination that lack aflatoxin-producing ability (atoxigenic strains). The atoxigenics are used to displace aflatoxin producers during crop development and infection and thereby reduce contamination. Although significant and important single season effects are achieved, the greatest potential is in long-term and area-wide influences. These long-term effects offer potential to modify fungal communities distributed across entire agricultural areas and thereby reduce incidences of aflatoxins in all the region’s susceptible crops and throughout the environment.