Submitted to: UJNR Food & Agricultural Panel Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2005
Publication Date: 11/11/2005
Citation: Maragos, C.M. 2005. Mycotoxin activities at the agricultural research service-NCAUR [abstract]. Annual Meeting of the UJNR Panel on Toxic Microorganisms. p. 8. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) conducts a varied research program to prevent and control mycotoxin occurrence in commodities, foods, and animal feeds. Major efforts at NCAUR include programs to control Fumonisin producing fungi such as Fusarium verticillioides, control of trichothecene producing fungi such as F. graminearum and F. sporotrichioides, control of aflatoxin producing fungi such as Aspergillus flavus, and a program to improve detection methods for the fungi and the mycotoxins they produce. Additional programs include those on insect management for reduction of fungi in maize, and the use of biological agents to control wheat head scab. To implement these programs, mycotoxin-related activities at NCAUR are conducted by several research units and, within the units, several research projects. There are several strategies for keeping mycotoxins out of the human food supply. The best strategy is a multifaceted approach to prevent the production of the mycotoxins within the commodity before harvesting, during harvesting and storage, and after processing. Progress is being made on ways to develop safe, reliable, and efficient mechanisms for minimizing the ability of the fungi to infect grains by studying the role of mycotoxins in the fungal invasion process and how mycotoxins are produced (biosynthesis and regulation). To this end, projects have been developed for the sequencing and annotation of expressed sequence tags from F. verticillioides, for identification of molecular markers associated with genes for preharvest resistance in maize, and for assessing the critical control points in maize resistance to A. flavus and aflatoxin. In addition, because current control programs do not adequately prevent fungal invasion or mycotoxin production, efforts are being made to improve upon the detection of these toxic agents, so that monitoring for their occurrence can allow diversion of contaminated material from the human and animal food supplies.