New Research to “Stamp Out” Aflatoxin
Corn farmers’ ongoing quest to manage and mitigate the fungus aflatoxin received a boost this week with the announcement that the Aflatoxin Mitigation Center of Excellence has approved seven new research projects for 2017.
AMCOE, which is managed by the National Corn Growers Association, is designed to investigate biological controls, aflatoxin resistance through transgenic and traditional breeding, best management strategies for harvest, handling and storage and improved testing procedures.
“Aflatoxin is a critical issue for corn growers who want to provide consumers with the best quality and safest product possible,” says Charles Ring, AMCOE Committee Chairman from Sinton, Texas. “AMCOE is committed to making continued progress toward solving this problem and helping southern corn farmers remain profitable.”
Aflatoxin in corn can be at dangerously high levels especially during periods of drought. The toxin, a byproduct of the Aspergillus fungi, is endemic in cornfields around the world.
“U.S. producers do all they can to eliminate the contaminants to meet strict standards. Through collaborative research at southern universities we have made significant progress related to both management and control,” Ring says. “We are confident this newly funded round of research will continue this positive momentum.”
A total of seven research projects will be funded in 2017 at Mississippi State University, Purdue University, Texas A & M, Louisiana State University and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service in Georgia.
AMCOE, now in its sixth year, is funding multiple research approaches to solve farmers’ struggles with mycotoxins. Funding a portfolio of approaches increases the probability of success. AMCOE is supporting genomic/genetic research to identify the genes that contribute to mycotoxin resistance, which is an important first step in their incorporation into new hybrids. AMCOE supports several breeding efforts that will have direct benefit to farmers. Breeding is not the only strategy the committee supports. AMCOE also is supporting both transgenic and biocontrol strategies to control both fungal growth and mycotoxin production.