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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Biological Control of Pests Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #317436

Title: Investigating Transgenic Corn Hybrids as a Method for Mycotoxin Control

item Abbas, Hamed
item Bellaloui, Nacer
item Bruns, Herbert

Submitted to: Food and Nutrition Sciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/23/2016
Publication Date: 1/26/2016
Citation: Abbas, H.K., Bellaloui, N., Bruns, H.A. 2016. Investigating Transgenic Corn Hybrids as a Method for Mycotoxin Control. Food and Nutrition Sciences. 7:44-54. doi: 10.4236/fns.2016.71006.

Interpretive Summary: Stacked-gene hybrids are corn hybrids that have multiple added genes that are resistant to insects and herbicides. This study attempted to determine if these new hybrids are superior to the old ones at reducing Mycotoxins (poisons produced by fungi) in corn. We found that no consistent effects were seen whether using the old corn hybrids or the newer, more expensive ones. This will allow farmers to save money by using cheaper hybrids to achieve same purpose.

Technical Abstract: Transgenic Bt corn hybrids have been available for more than 10 years and are known to control specific insects. More recently, so-called “stacked-gene” hybrids, have been released with multiple insect resistance genes and genes for herbicide resistance, resulting in up to 6 traits per plant. Because insect damage can lead to increased levels of mycotoxins, such as aflatoxins and fumonisin, we designed a study to compare ten commercially available corn hybrids, two non-GMO, four with both herbicide and insect tolerance (stacked-gene) and four with glyphosate tolerance only to determine if any hybrid class had the advantage of reduced mycotoxin contamination. Experimental parameters included multiple years; soil types (clay soil vs. fine sandy loam); and various field conditions. No consistent significant differences were observed in yield among the hybrids. Thus, we are unable to recommend transgenic hybrids as superior to non-GMO corn or glyphosate tolerant hybrids for higher yield or reduced aflatoxin or fumonisin contamination. Higher yields and lower mycotoxin contamination occurred on clay soil rather than the sandy soil. More research is needed to identify conditions under which transgenic hybrids might produce higher yields and lower mycotoxin levels. Presently, selection of transgenic hybrids will not replace integrated strategies of biocontrol, host plant resistance, or good crop management practices for achieving adequate mycotoxin control in corn.