Biological control of the fungus Aspergillus flavus has been shown to be effective in reducing aflatoxin contamination in corn. This study compared field application of a bioplastic-based formulation for delivering atoxigenic A.flavus isolates in Northern Italy and the Mississippi Delta.Due to an extremely hot and dry summer at the Italy site in 2012, aflatoxin contamination was approximately seven times higher than in 2011. In 2011, and 2012, application of bioplastic granules inoculated with the atoxigenic isolate A.flavus NRRL 30797 at 15 and 30kgha-1 resulted in a reduction of aflatoxin contamination by 67.2±4.1% and 94.8±5.3%, respectively. The higher application rate was also effective when soil abundance of A.flavus was artificially increased by applying contaminated corn residues. At the Mississippi site, summer 2012 was also hot and dry, with high levels of aflatoxin contamination. In fields planted with non-Bt or Bt hybrids, application of biocontrol granules inoculated with A.flavus NRRL 30797 or NRRL 21882 at 30kgha-1 reduced aflatoxin contamination to up to 89.6%. Field experiments on two continents showed that bioplastic-based A.flavus formulations markedly reduced aflatoxin contamination under different agro-environmental conditions and infestation intensities.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to thank Alemah Butler, Jeremy Kotowicz, Roderick Patterson, and Terry Johnson for their technical assistance. This research was partially funded by Syngenta Crop Protection under Specific Cooperative Agreement no. 58-6402-0-500 .
- Aspergillus flavus
- Bt corn
- Zea mays