University Of Arkansas Developing Aflatoxin-Resistant Corn

University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture plant pathologists are developing transgenic corn lines that could help level the field for corn producers in the South compared to those in the Midwest where a cooler climate eliminates the risk of a major fungal disease that plagues Southern growers.

A major issue for corn in the South is infection by a fungus that produces aflatoxin in the grain, which makes it unmarketable. The fungus, Aspergillus flavus, thrives in corn plants that are stressed by hot, dry weather, says research assistant professor Ron Sayler. Aflatoxin is rarely a concern for corn producers in the Midwest because of the cooler climate there.

In Arkansas, irrigation is highly recommended for corn to reduce the risk of aflatoxin contamination; however, it frequently occurs even in irrigated fields, particularly in a very hot, dry summer such as occurred in 2010, Sayler said. In many third world countries where grain marketing is unregulated, people and farm animals often die from aflatoxin poisoning.

Sayler and assistant professor Burt Bluhm are working to develop transgenic corn lines in which the growth of the A. flavus fungus that produces aflatoxin would be inhibited. The project is funded in part by the Arkansas Corn and Sorghum Promotion Board.

A gene in hyacinth bean has been proven to inhibit the alpha amylase enzyme activity of A. flavus necessary for both fungal growth and the subsequent accumulation of aflatoxins, Sayler said. Plant pathologist Charles Woloshuk isolated the gene about 10 years ago at Purdue University, where Bluhm was a member of the research team before coming to Arkansas. Insertion of the gene into corn was not being pursued, so Bluhm and Sayler picked up the project in Arkansas.

Sayler developed a DNA segment containing the gene and introduced the transgene into corn line Hi II.

Sayler reported that, “the amylase inhibitor gene family member B01 has been cloned into the plant transformation vector 1300S, which is designed to express B01 in all tissues (of the corn plant). Twenty-one lines with the B01 amylase inhibitor transgene have been regenerated and are being grown to maturity in the greenhouse. Seed from each of these lines will be tested for their ability to inhibit Aspergillus flavus infection and aflatoxin accumulation.”

“When you introduce a gene into corn, it goes to different parts of the corn chromosome. Where the gene is located affects the expression of the desired genetic trait,” Sayler said. Tests of seed from each transgenic line will determine which line will significantly inhibit growth of the fungus and production of aflatoxin. Results should be known by this summer, he said.

“I am optimistic that one of the lines will express (amylose inhibitor) levels high enough to inhibit growth of the fungus,” Sayler said. He is also pursuing a different method of expressing the gene in corn to optimize the effectiveness of this technology.

When a transgenic line is identified that significantly inhibits A. flavus growth and aflatoxin development, it will be made available to plant breeders for use in developing improved corn varieties with a combination of traits best suited for Arkansas and other Southern states, Sayler said.

(Source: University of Arkansas news release)

Leave a Reply

Seed/Biotech Stories

ABM sign
Crop InputsAdvanced Biological Marketing Awarded Competitive Grant from the National Science Foundation
July 13, 2017
Advanced Biological Marketing (ABM) has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to conduct Read More
Corn Field
Seed/BiotechCorn Insect Bt Technologies Offer Cost-effective, Proactive Protection
June 26, 2017
When farm economics are challenging, farmers look for ways to bolster profit margins, including reducing input costs. Some may think Read More
Seed/BiotechDow AgroSciences Announces Launch of Enlist Corn for 2018 Planting
June 14, 2017
Enlist corn will be commercially available in the U.S. for the 2018 growing season. Dow AgroSciences announced the launch today Read More
Soybean Closeup
Seed/BiotechEAG Laboratories Licensing Dow AgroSciences’ Plextein Technology
June 7, 2017
Time is money in the highly regulated world of agricultural biotechnology, and the ability to quickly quantitate endogenous allergens is Read More
Trending Articles
Stewardship‘Gonna Fly Now’ with Environmental Respect
July 20, 2017
One of the most memorable moments in movie history occurred in the Academy Award-winning 1976 film “Rocky.” Haven gotten his Read More
StewardshipEnvironmental Respect 2017 Kicks Off Enjoying an American Pastime
July 18, 2017
Following months of planning and scheduling, the 2017 Environmental Respect Awards (ERA) celebration kicked off in fine fashion as more Read More
Soybean Closeup
Crop InputsMissouri Lifts Dicamba Ban, Issues Stricter Application Parameters
July 14, 2017
The Missouri Department of Agriculture has lifted its barely week-old ban on new dicamba technologies, which have been at the Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto Responds to Arkansas, Missouri Dicamba Bans
July 10, 2017
Monsanto, provider of the dicamba-tolerant Roundup Ready Xtend crop system for soybeans and cotton, issued the following statement on Friday, Read More
Retail FacilitiesPCS-Hammond Meets Fertilizer Storage Needs with New Dome Facility
July 8, 2017
The new barrel dome facility at the PCS-Hammond Regional Distribution Center in Hammond, IN, can hold more than 100,000 tons Read More
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
Latest News
Crop InputsBASF: In Arkansas Drift Cases, Buffer Zones Mostly Not …
July 24, 2017
BASF on Thursday addressed questions about spreading dicamba drift issues on a media briefing call. In Arkansas – which is Read More
Tim Hassinger Dow AgroSciences President and CEO
Crop InputsDow’s Tim Hassinger Named President, CEO of Linds…
July 24, 2017
Lindsay Corp. has  announced the appointment of Timothy Hassinger as president and CEO and a member of its board of Read More
Eric SfiligojThe 2017 Ambassadors of Respect Come from Around the Gl…
July 24, 2017
After a week of fun, enjoying food, sights, and company information, DuPont Crop Protection representatives and their Environmental Respect guests Read More
ManagementCropLife Retail Week: Dicamba Update and InfoAg Preview
July 21, 2017
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf discuss reports from the field and comments from Monsanto about dicamba drift this season, Read More
Stewardship‘Gonna Fly Now’ with Environmental Respect
July 20, 2017
One of the most memorable moments in movie history occurred in the Academy Award-winning 1976 film “Rocky.” Haven gotten his Read More
StewardshipEnvironmental Respect: Grand Grounds, Posters Parade
July 19, 2017
To celebrate their accomplishments in the area of environmental stewardship, award recipients at the 2017 Environmental Respect week spent much Read More
StewardshipHarden’s Message to ERA Winners: Do Tell Your Good Stor…
July 19, 2017
As the daughter of a peanut farmer, Krysta Harden, Chief Sustainability Officer for DuPont Crop Protection, understands the importance the Read More
StewardshipFarming Smarter Hinges on 4R Best Management Practices
July 18, 2017
Preserving water quality while feeding another 2 billion people by 2050 is the challenge facing North America’s farmers and its Read More
StewardshipEnvironmental Respect 2017 Kicks Off Enjoying an Americ…
July 18, 2017
Following months of planning and scheduling, the 2017 Environmental Respect Awards (ERA) celebration kicked off in fine fashion as more Read More
Soybean Field Sunset
OpinionPicking Partners in the Crop Protection Market
July 17, 2017
Agriculture is a market awash in highs, lows, and everything in between. This is certainly true in the world of Read More
TMX-2050-In-Cab-Display-Launch-Run-Screen
EquipmentGPS Auto Steer: Innovating in a Mature Market
July 17, 2017
In the world of Big IRON, GPS auto steer has closely mirrored the evolutionary path of consumer GPS Navigation systems Read More
MFA-Centralia-MO
Eric SfiligojThe Resilience of Ag Retailers
July 17, 2017
After covering the ag retail market for 17 years, I think one of the most impressive character traits I’ve seen Read More
SERA-meeting
Stewardship4R Event Explores How to Minimize Phosphorus Losses
July 17, 2017
This year the Southern Extension and Research Activity (SERA) – 17; will be meeting in Oregon, OH, from August 14-17. Read More
Students Soybean Field
StewardshipCCA 4R Study Guide Available
July 17, 2017
In June the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) released the Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) 4R Nutrient Management Specialist (4R NMS) Read More
Soil soybean closeup
FertilizerThe 4Rs and Potassium
July 17, 2017
Are we meeting crop K needs? Using the 4R nutrient stewardship approach of selecting the right source at the right Read More
Soil Young Corn
StewardshipTop 10 Themes from the 2017 4R Nutrient Stewardship Sum…
July 17, 2017
Preserving water quality while feeding another 2 billion people by 2050 is the challenge facing North America’s farmers and its Read More
Soybean Field Sunset
Crop InputsWhich is Better for Soybeans: Fall or Spring Applicatio…
July 17, 2017
There have been many questions about fall versus spring applications of phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) to soybeans, writes Dr. T. Read More
corn-potassium-deficiency-University-of-Minnesota-Extension
Crop InputsRecognizing Potassium Deficiency Symptoms in Crops
July 17, 2017
Some crops exhibit characteristic deficiency symptoms when adequate amounts of K are not available for growth and development, according to Read More