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Biological Control of Aflatoxin Contamination in U.S. Crops and the Use of Bioplastic Formulations of Aspergillus flavus Biocontrol Strains To Optimize Application Strategies

Abbas Hamed K., Accinelli Cesare, Shier W. Thomas
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2017 v.65 no.33 pp. 7081-7087
Aspergillus flavus, aflatoxins, barley, biological control, biological control agents, bioplastics, corn, corn starch, crop production, crops, economic impact, granules, growing season, leaves, seeds, soil, weather forecasting, Southeastern United States
Aflatoxin contamination has a major economic impact on crop production in the southern United States. Reduction of aflatoxin contamination in harvested crops has been achieved by applying nonaflatoxigenic biocontrol Aspergillus flavus strains that can out-compete wild aflatoxigenic A. flavus, reducing their numbers at the site of application. Currently, the standard method for applying biocontrol A. flavus strains to soil is using a nutrient-supplying carrier (e.g., pearled barley for Afla-Guard). Granules of Bioplastic (partially acetylated corn starch) have been investigated as an alternative nutritive carrier for biocontrol agents. Bioplastic granules have also been used to prepare a sprayable biocontrol formulation that gives effective reduction of aflatoxin contamination in harvested corn kernels with application of much smaller amounts to leaves later in the growing season. The ultimate goal of biocontrol research is to produce biocontrol systems that can be applied to crops only when long-range weather forecasting indicates they will be needed.