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June 19th, 2017 / Africa Rising

Aflatoxin contamination of maize and groundnut by Aspergillus section Flavi fungi is perennial in Ghana. Consumption of foods with high aflatoxin content can cause acute liver cirrhosis and death, while sub-lethal chronic exposure may cause cancer, stunting in children, immune system suppression, and impaired food conversion. Animal productivity likewise becomes affected when feeds contain high aflatoxin levels. This results in substantial health and economic burdens.

With support from the Africa RISING project, a management strategy using biocontrol products containing native atoxigenic A. flavus fungi to reduce crop aflatoxin content has been developed for use in Ghana by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and partners. When products are applied at the right crop development stage, the atoxigenic fungi competitively displace aflatoxin-producers residing in treated fields and, in so doing, crop aflatoxin content is reduced.

Two biocontrol products, Aflasafe GH01 and Aflasafe GH02, each containing four atoxigenic A. flavus strains native to Ghana, were tested in maize and groundnut farmer fields in efficacy trials during 2015 and 2016. Competitive exclusion of aflatoxin producers by the atoxigenic strains and crop aflatoxin content were determined. Read more