Submitted to: Mycotoxins: Detection Methods, Managament, Public Health and Agricultural Trade
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/2007
Publication Date: 4/1/2008
Citation: Cotty, P.J., Probst, C., Jaime-Garcia, R. 2008. Etiology and management of aflatoxin contamination. In: Leslie, J.F., Bandyopadhyay, R., Visconti, A., editors. Mycotoxins: Detection Methods, Managament, Public Health and Agricultural Trade. Oxfordshire: CAB International. p. 287-299. Interpretive Summary: Aflatoxins are toxic fungal metabolites that can inhibit human development, cause cancer, and even induce death. For over three decades, people have tried to develop methods for limiting aflatoxin contamination of crops. However, the precise fungi causing contamination in many parts of the world is not known. Improved knowledge of the fungi causing contamination can result in improved management procedures, including improved plant resistance, agronomic practices that discourage the causal organism, and biological control methods. To date, description of the causal agents of aflatoxin contamination has contributed greatest to the development of biological control methods.
Technical Abstract: Aflatoxins are potent poisons that contaminate crops in warm regions worldwide and diminish health and economic welfare in several portions of Africa. Crops are contaminated in two phases: first, Aspergillus species infect crops during development; second, after maturation, contamination builds during exposure to warm humid conditions. Identification of the exact fungi causing contamination can provide clues to management strategies. Crops are infected by complex mixtures of aflatoxin-producing and closely related fungi. Among these are atoxigenic strains that produce no aflatoxins. In the U.S., atoxigenic strains are already used to reduce contamination. Such technologies may also have value in Africa.