Source: National Corn Growers Association

Last week, NCGA's Mycotoxin Task Force met with researchers that comprise the Aflatoxin Mitigation Center of Excellence. This joint effort between corn growers and university researchers seeks to prevent economic loss and other factors associated with aflatoxin, a toxic compound produced by naturally occurring fungi in some nuts, oil seeds and grains like corn. The group is looking at all aspects of research, including genetic, chemical, storage, field application, sanitation and feed solutions.

"Originally, the center was looking to public resources to bring aflatoxin mitigation solutions to the field," said NCGA Mycotoxin Task Force Chairman Don Glenn. "However, due to budget cuts at federal and state levels, the Steering Committee will seek internal funding from participating organizations, related industry partners and grants. We spent considerable time reviewing current and possible research projects and found several positive research avenues."

Current projects funded by the Mycotoxin Task Force include clay improvement in the DDG feed ration of livestock by Texas A&M University and jointly funded genetic research with NCGA's Research and Business Development Action Team conducted by the Danforth Center on aflatoxin free corn. The group also heard a promising presentation on high-level disinfection technologies.

Drought, heat, high humidity and insect infestation are ripe conditions for the aflatoxin-producing fungi that pose a health threat to humans and animals. Although most prevalent in the southern corn growing states, under certain environmental conditions, aflatoxin contamination can have a significant impact on the total U.S. corn crop.