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Adaptation and Divergence among Aflatoxin-Producing Fungi and Optimized Use of Atoxigenic Strains

Mellon, Jay; Cotty, Peter
USDA - Agricultural Research Service
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  • Construct and develop criteria for selection and delivery of optimal Aspergillus flavus strains for competitive exclusion strategies that modify A. flavus populations in the field.
  • Determine behavior of A. flavus in soil and identify factors that dictate strain success.
  • Delineate adaptation and divergence among aflatoxin producing fungi with the goal of improved criteria for selection and monitoring of elite atoxigenic strains.
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  • Assess competitive differences amont atoxigenic strains under field conditions and the effects of long term applications of atoxigenic strains on the A. flavus community structure.
  • Identify factors that exert selective forces on A> flavus population structure and strain character.
  • Define distribution of atoxigenic vegetative compatibility groups and assess their adaptation to different cotton producing areas.
  • Define the evolutionary relationship of atoxigenic strains to both toxigenic strains and to strains of Aspergillus oryzae in order to help determine how aflatoxin producing ability may be selected against.
  • Establiish mechanisms of atoxigenicity and variability among phenotypes in rsponse to environmental modulators of aflatoxin production.
  • Apply genetic methods to quantify phylogenetic relationships among strains of A. flavus and to gain insights on ancestral versus adaptive traits.
  • Combine genetic and physiologic approaches to identify adaptive traits and delineate the extent to which geographical and ecological divergence has arisen within aflatoxin producing taxa.
Funding Source
Agricultural Research Service
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