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Biological Control of Insects and Microorganisms to Prevent Mycotoxin Contamination

Palumbo, Jeffrey; Light, Douglas; Hua, Sui; Campbell, Bruce; Beck, John
USDA - Agricultural Research Service
Start date
End date
The overall objective of this project is to develop commercially viable methods for control of fungal and insect pests which contribute to pre-harvest aflatoxin contamination of tree nuts. The methods are to be environmentally benign and not harmful to humans.

To control fungi, there are two main objectives. The first objective for this project is to control mycotoxin-producing fungi using bacteria. The second biocontrol effort is well underway and involves the biological control of A. flavus in tree nut orchards using the saprophytic yeast Pichia anomala. The yeast will also be examined to determine its effectiveness against other fungal pathogens, e.g., Fusarium spp., Penicillium spp. The third objective of this project is also an ongoing research effort. This objective entails development of semiochemical-based low-risk control strategies against key insect pests of tree nuts. Insect feeding damage is associated with the invasion of microbial pathogens and mycotoxin contamination.

More information
Develop mentods to control insect pests and toxic fungi of tree nuts. Insects include naval orangeworm, codling moth and peach twig borer. Feeding damage by these insects leads to infection by aflatoxigenic aspergilli. Control methods for insects are to be environmentally benign and employ semiochemicals to disrupt insect behavior.

Control of toxic fungi focuses on biological control using competitive or antagonistic microorganisms. These microorganisms include either yeasts or bacteria that can be mass-produced and effectively utilized in a variety of pre- or post harvest environments. Replacing 5325-42000-031-00D (2/06).

Funding Source
Agricultural Research Service
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Natural Toxins
Bacterial Pathogens
Nuts, Seeds