Author(s): Brown RL, Chen ZY, Cleveland TE, Russin JS
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Abstract ABSTRACT Aflatoxins are toxic, highly carcinogenic secondary metabolites of Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus, which when produced during fungal infection of a susceptible crop in the field or after harvest contaminate food and feed and threaten human and animal health. Although there are several management strategies that may reduce aflatoxin contamination of corn, the preeminent strategy for elimination of aflatoxin is to develop preharvest host resistance to aflatoxin accumulation. This strategy has gained even greater prominence due to recent discoveries of natural resistance in corn that can be exploited in plant-breeding strategies. The ability to identify resistant corn genotypes has been enhanced by the development of a laboratory kernel-screening assay and by a strain of A. flavus genetically engineered to produce beta-glucuronidase, an enzyme whose activity can be monitored to assess the degree of fungal infection in kernels. Investigations of resistant corn genotypes have associated kernel pericarp wax characteristics with resistance, identified kernel proteins associated with resistance to and inhibition of fungal growth or aflatoxin biosynthesis, and identified chromosome regions associated with resistance to Aspergillus ear rot and aflatoxin production. Such research advances could lead, in the near future, to commercially available, agronomically acceptable corn lines with multiple preharvest resistances to aflatoxin contamination.
This article was published in Phytopathology
and referenced in Journal of Cytology & Histology