Texas AgriLife Research scientists have identified a gene that allows aflatoxin contamination in corn, which may lead to the creation of aflatoxin-resistant corn, according to Ethanol Producer Magazine.
Mycotoxins, mostly aflatoxin, caused about $13 million in losses in Texas last year, the highest in the nation, researchers said. For ethanol plants, aflatoxin levels must be watched closely because it concentrates in the distillers grains and can be harmful for livestock.
The discovery of the gene (and one linked to drought tolerance) came out of a four-year study funded by the National Science Foundation, says researcher Mike Kolomiets, an associate professor in Texas A&M University Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology. Now, with a $500,000 USDA grant, Kolomiets, Seth Murray, corn genetics researcher, and Tom Isakiet, plant pathologist, have started another four-year project to apply the information to corn breeding.
(Source: Ethanol Producer Magazine)