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Research Project: Use of Classical and Molecular Technologies for Developing Aflatoxin Resistance in Crops

Location: Food and Feed Safety Research

Title: Advances in molecular and genomic research to safeguard food and feed supply from aflatoxin contamination

item Bhatnagar, Deepak
item Rajasekaran, Kanniah - Rajah
item Gilbert, Matthew
item Cary, Jeffrey
item MAGAN, NARESH - Cranfield University

Submitted to: World Mycotoxin Journal
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/26/2018
Publication Date: 2/27/2018
Citation: Bhatnagar, D., Rajasekaran, K., Gilbert, M.K., Cary, J.W., Magan, N. 2018. Advances in molecular and genomic research to safeguard food and feed supply from aflatoxin contamination. World Mycotoxin Journal. 11(1):47-72.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Worldwide recognition that aflatoxin contamination of agricultural commodities by the fungus Aspergillus flavus is a global problem which has significantly benefitted from global collaboration for understanding the contaminating fungus as well as for developing and implementing solutions against the contamination. The effort to address this serious food and feed safety issue has led to a detailed understanding of the taxonomy, ecology, physiology, genomics and evolution of A. flavus, as well as strategies to reduce or control pre-harvest aflatoxin contamination including biological control, using atoxigenic aspergilli, and enhancing host-resistance by bioengineering of resistant cotton, proteomic and genomic analyses for identifying resistance factors in maize as potential breeding markers, and breeding of resistant maize lines. Post-harvest measures to prevent the elaboration of aflatoxin contamination in storage is an important component for reducing exposure of populations worldwide to aflatoxins in food and feed supplies. The effect of environmental changes on aflatoxin contamination levels has recently become an important aspect for study to anticipate future contamination levels. The ability of A. flavus to produce dozens of secondary metabolites, in addition to aflatoxins, has created a new avenue of research for understanding the role these metabolites play in the survival and biodiversity of this fungus. The understanding of A. flavus, the aflatoxin contamination problem, and control measures to prevent the contamination has become a unique example for an integrated approach to solving global agricultural problems.