Fungus source for Africa's deadly maize
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) plant pathologist and his colleagues
found that a poisonous strain of the fungus Aspergillus flavus, known as
the "S" strain, is to blame for causing 125 food-related deaths in Kenya in
Through a special permit, the researchers were able to
obtain samples of contaminated maize from affected Kenyan villages. After
grinding the corn, they isolated the fungi and grew them in culture.
Surprisingly, they found the "S" strain of A. flavus, a potent aflatoxin
producer not previously known in Africa, to be the most prevalent source of
toxins in the maize.Carcinogenic fungus
which produces invisible toxins that are known to be carcinogenic, had
contaminated portions of the country's maize crop. This is the third time since
1981 that the so-called "Kenyan death fungus" has tainted the African nation's
primary food staple with deadly levels of poisons.
findings, reported in the current issue of Applied and Environmental
Microbiology, will be critical to researchers who are trying to devise methods
for preventing future cases of fungal poisoning, or aflatoxicosis, in African
maize. Related website:
ARSTo receive more free feed news, subscribe
To comment, login here
Or register to be able to comment.