New aflatoxin-resistant maize

A local partner holding a cob of aflatoxin-contaminated maize. Photo by Godwin Atser, IITA.
A local partner holding a cob of aflatoxin-contaminated maize. Photo by Godwin Atser, IITA.

Aflatoxins, poisons produced by th Ralph Lauren Mens Polo Shirts Australia wide portions  e fungus Aspergillus flavus, infect agricultural commodities such as groundnuts, cassava, yam, and maize. They pose serious potential health hazards to both humans and animals, and have far-reaching negative implications on the global trade contaminated crops (see related article “Towards safer African food crops” under Agriculture and Health).

Various solutions have been proposed to minimize aflatoxin contamination in food crops. Host resistance remains as the most widely explored strategy as A. flavus infects susceptible crops before harvest.

Our researchers in partnership with colleagues from the US Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS-SRRC) have developed and released six new maize inbred lines with resistance to aflatoxin contamination and adapted to the lowlands. These lines, named TZAR101 through TZAR106, have also been registered in the United States. The research was co-funded by FAS-USDA-ARS, USAID, and IITA.

Collaborating for almost a decade, USDA-ARS plant pathologist Robert Brown and IITA maize breeder Abebe Menkir developed the new maize lines through conventional breeding by crossing the best aflatoxin-resistant lines found in the US (GT-MAS:gk, MI82 and Mp420) with tropical elite lines found in Central and West Africa (1368, 4001 and KU1414-SR).

Aside from demonstrating good resistance against aflatoxin accumulation under laboratory and field tests, most of these new maize lines also possess other commercially-desirable traits and resistance to diseases such as leaf blight and southern corn rust.

As these inbred lines involve parents of both tropical and temperate origin, they are likely to contain new combinations of complimentary alleles imparting resistance to aflatoxin accumulation. These can be exploited by maize breeders as new  may shopbust be b lace which  sources of resistance for developing maize cultivars with higher levels of resistance to A. flavus infection/aflatoxin contamination.

They can also serve as sources of resistance to foliar diseases as well as desirable agronomic traits to expand the genetic base of adapted US and tropical maize germplasm to accelerate the development of productive new cultivars. The resistant lines with good agronomic traits could be used as parents to accelerate breeding efforts against aflatoxin contamination of national programs in West and Central Africa.