Submitted to: Aflatoxin Elimination Workshop Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/27/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Aspergillus flavus is a fungus that infects maturing corn kernels and other food seeds and produces aflatoxin, a very carcinogenic compound. Decreasing the level of aflatoxin would not only increase the safety of the food supply, but also increase the value of the crops attacked by the fungus. Oil is a main nutrient used by the fungus to make aflatoxin, but different types of seeds have oil containing different components called fatty acids. Ten oils were evaluated for growth and toxin production by the fungus. These results showed a factor of nearly three between the highest and lowest. We investigated the effect of different fatty acids and found that some types are necessary for high toxin production, and differences in these helped explain why toxin production was higher on some oils than on others. Sugars are also present in seeds and usually promote toxin formation; however, certain sugars which are normally present in seeds were found to be quite active in inhibiting the use of oil for aflatoxin production, and others less commonly present prevented growth of the fungus. These results help us to understand how the composition of seeds can be used to decrease aflatoxin in the food supply.