Submitted to: Journal of Toxicology Toxins Reviews
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/29/2008
Publication Date: 12/8/2008
Citation: Wilkinson, J.R., Abbas, H.K. 2008. Aflatoxin, Aspergillus, Maize, and the Relevance to Alternative Fuels (or Aflatoxin: What is It, Can We Get Rid of It, and Should the Ethanol Industry Care?). Journal of Toxicology Toxins Reviews. 27:227-260
Technical Abstract: The contamination of agricultural commodities by Aspergillus flavus and its subsequent production of aflatoxin is a well known problem. The resulting aflatoxin contamination if undetected results in fatal health issues for both man and animals. To prevent these effects regulatory limits on aflatoxin levels are enforced both domestically and internationally. These regulations result in the loss of contaminated commodities, which is an economic hardship to producers, local and national economies. Multiple relationships between fungi, substrate, and the environment have been investigated in efforts to design strategies to reduce the economic and health impacts associated with aflatoxin, including investigations of the life cycle of Aspergillus, fungal vectoring, fungal pathogenicity, bio-control, host resistance, and decontamination of the infected crops. However, due to the complicated interactions of environment, host, and pathogen the Aspergillus-host interaction is still poorly understood; thus, Aspergillus infection and aflatoxin production remains a pressing agricultural issue. As the demand for alternative fuels increases the importance of mechanism that can reduce aflatoxin contamination and the impact of failure to accomplish this become more critical to our nation and the world at large. In this review the relationship of aflatoxin biosynthesis, stability, Aspergillus ecology, bio-control, and host resistance, are discussed, specifically as it relates to maize, and the increasing demand for ethanol.