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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Mississippi State, Mississippi » Crop Science Research Laboratory » Corn Host Plant Resistance Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #321466

Research Project: Genetic Improvement of Maize with Enhanced Resistance to Aflatoxin and Insects

Location: Corn Host Plant Resistance Research

Title: Advances in mycotoxin-resistant maize varieties

Author
item Warburton, Marilyn
item Williams, William - Paul

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/16/2016
Publication Date: 6/9/2017
Citation: Warburton, M.L., Williams, W.P. 2017. Advances in mycotoxin-resistant maize varieties. Book Chapter. IN Achieving sustainable cultivation of maize. Volume 1, Chapter 09.

Interpretive Summary: Mycotoxin contamination of corn grain is a huge economic and health problem, causing death and increased disease burden in much of the developing world. Immediate symptoms of large doses of mycotoxins can include abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea, and even death, while long term exposure to sub-lethal doses of mycotoxins has been linked to liver and esophogeal cancers, neural tube defects in newborns, stunted growth during childhood, and depressed or severely compromised immune systems, among other symptoms. In areas of the world where mycotoxin levels are regulated, the health consequences are often avoided, but income loss is still a problem for famers around the world. The most commonly occurring ear rot fungi include Aspergillus, Fusarium, and Gibberella species, all of which produce one or more mycotoxins. Despite the gravity of the problem, deployable solutions are still being sought. Progress in the area of genetics, genomics, and breeding of mycotoxin resistant corn is outlined in the current review article. New, resistant corn lines now exist for all the major corn ear rots, and information on genes causing the resistance and how these genes can be used to breed new resistant corn varieties is becoming available. Continued research will soon lead to further solutions, which promise to further reduce and even eliminate the problem completely.

Technical Abstract: Mycotoxin contamination of corn grain is a huge economic and health problem, causing death and increased disease burden in much of the developing world. Immediate symptoms of large doses of mycotoxins can include abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea, and even death, while long term exposure to sub-lethal doses of mycotoxins has been linked to liver and esophogeal cancers, neural tube defects in newborns, stunted growth during childhood, and depressed or severely compromised immune systems, among other symptoms. In areas of the world where mycotoxin levels are regulated, the health consequences are often avoided, but income loss is still a problem for famers around the world. The most commonly occurring ear rot fungi include Aspergillus, Fusarium, and Gibberella species, all of which produce one or more mycotoxins. Despite the gravity of the problem, deployable solutions are still being sought. Progress in the area of genetics, genomics, and breeding of mycotoxin resistant corn is outlined in the current review article. New, resistant corn lines now exist for all the major corn ear rots, and information on genes causing the resistance and how these genes can be used to breed new resistant corn varieties is becoming available. Continued research will soon lead to further solutions, which promise to further reduce and even eliminate the problem completely.