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Research Project: Developing Resistance to Aflatoxin through Seed-Based Technologies

Location: Food and Feed Safety Research

Title: Evaluation of African-bred maize germplasm lines for resistance to aflatoxin accumulation

Author
item Brown, Robert
item Williams, William
item Windham, Gary
item Menkir, Abebe - International Institute Of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
item Chen, Zhi-yuan - Louisiana State University Agcenter

Submitted to: Agronomy
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/7/2016
Publication Date: 4/15/2016
Citation: Brown, R.L., Williams, W.P., Windham, G.L., Menkir, A., Chen, Z.-Y. 2016. Evaluation of African-bred maize germplasm lines for resistance to aflatoxin accumulation. Agronomy. 6(2):24. doi:10.3390/agronomy6020024.

Interpretive Summary: The fungus named Aspergillus flavus produces a poison called aflatoxin when it infects corn kernels. Aflatoxin prevents the corn from being used commercially. The best strategy for controlling this problem is to develop corn that is resistant to aflatoxin contamination. Towards this aim, we field-tested six inbred lines we had developed in Nigeria West Africa for resistance to aflatoxin accumulation by Aspergillus flavus. Field trials were conducted at Mississippi State, MS in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014. While some tests measured aflatoxin in the actual inbred lines themselves, other tests measured the toxin in lines created by crossing each inbred with a susceptible corn inbred. As inbreds and as crosses resistance to aflatoxin contamination was demonstrated by the six inbreds comparable to some of the best resistant lines already available. Further studies may determine them to be resistant in different environments and may demonstrate yield and other agronomic features important for developing aflatoxin-resistant commercial corn. This could lead to future savings of millions of dollars to growers, as a result of the elimination of aflatoxin contamination of corn.

Technical Abstract: Aflatoxins, produced by the fungus Aspergillus flavus, contaminate maize grain and threatens human food and feed safety. Plant resistance is considered the best strategy for reducing aflatoxin accumulation. Six maize germplasm lines, TZAR101-TZAR106, were released by the IITA-SRRC maize breeding collaboration for use in African National Programs and U.S. maize breeding programs. The present investigation was conducted to evaluate aflatoxin reduction by these lines in a U.S. environment. As germplasm lines, resistance was demonstrated by the five lines tested in 2010 and 2014 trials. In 2010, TZAR106 was among the lines with the lowest toxin accumulation, and in 2014, along with TZAR102, supported low aflatoxin. When evaluated as single cross hybrids in 2012, 2013 and 2014, several crosses involving IITA-SRRC lines accumulated low toxin. In 2012, TZAR103 x HBA1 was one of 4 lines with the lowest concentration of aflatoxin. In 2014, five IITA-SRRC hybrids were among the lowest with TZAR102 x Va35 and TZAR102 x LH132 being the 2 lowest. Results demonstrate significant toxin reduction by IITA-SRRC lines in a U.S. aflatoxin-conducive environment. Further testing in different locations and environments is needed to further evaluate their potential usefulness.