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Aflatoxin Reduction in Maize by Removal of Kernels with Compromised Structural Integrity due to Fungal Infection


Aflatoxins are secondary metabolites produced mainly by the fungi Aspergillus flavus (A. flavus) and A. parasiticus after they infect certain crops or commodities in the field, or in storage under environmental conditions suitable for fungal growth and aflatoxin production. In field-grown maize, fungal infection can cause maize kernels to become lightweight, discolored, have reduced structural integrity, and under heat and drought stress, to produce aflatoxins. Under favorable environmental conditions, moldy grain in storage conditions can also produce aflatoxin in a very short period of time. To deal with this problem, maize cleaning is generally implemented before storage and also before the milling process. The overall goal of our research is to facilitate the development of consistent and cost-effective approaches for aflatoxin reduction in maize that help ensure the safety and quality of domestic food and feed supply of maize products. The overall objective of this application is to establish the relationship between the strength of maize kernels and fungal infection as well as aflatoxin contamination levels. There are two specific objectives:1: Determine the relationship between kernel strength and A. flavus infection in time series inoculated maize kernels.2. Determine the relationship between kernel strength and aflatoxin contamination levels in inoculated maize kernels.

Yao, Haibo
Mississippi State University
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