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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Dawson, Georgia » National Peanut Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #310607

Title: RNA interference reduces aflatoxin accumulation by Aspergillus flavus in peanut seeds

item Arias De Ares, Renee
item Dang, Phat
item Sobolev, Victor

Submitted to: World Mycotoxins Forum
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2014
Publication Date: 11/10/2014
Citation: Arias De Ares, R.S., Dang, P.M., Sobolev, V. 2014. RNA interference reduces aflatoxin accumulation by Aspergillus flavus in peanut seeds. World Mycotoxins Forum 8th Conference.

Interpretive Summary: One promising technology to reduce aflatoxin in crops is the use of RNA interference. We have used RNA interference in peanut plants targeting several genes in the pathway of the fungus that accumulates aflatoxin, Aspergillus, and observed significant reduction of aflatoxin in infected seeds. Seed contamination in undeveloped countries reduces the availability of already limited food supply, so, the use of RNA interference to reduce aflatoxins can contribute to food security.

Technical Abstract: Aflatoxins are among the most powerful carcinogens in nature. They are produced by the fungal pathogen Aspergillus flavus Link and other Aspergillus species. Aflatoxins accumulate in many crops, including rice, wheat, oats, pecans, pistachios, soybean, cassava, almonds, peanuts, beans, corn and cotton, posing a risk to food safety and causing economic losses. RNA interference (RNAi) signals can move from cell to cell in plants (Wang and Ding, 2010), and can also move systemically and translocate from the plant to pathogens or parasites in close contact with the plant, silencing genes inside them (Nowara et al. 2010; Tinoco et al., 2010, Tomilov et al., 2008). We designed a multi-target RNA interference to silence genes in the aflatoxin synthesis pathway of A. flavus, used Agrobacterium to incorporate the binary vector into peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) plants, and designed a method to test for aflatoxin accumulation in RNAi seeds. We determined aflatoxin-B1 and B2 by quantification with ultra-high pressure liquid chromatography (UHPLC). Between 82-100% reduction in Aflatoxin-B1, and 90-100% reduction in Aflatoxin-B2 for peanut seeds harboring RNAi compared to the controls.