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Integration of biological control and transgenic insect protection for mitigation of mycotoxins in corn
Mark Weaver: USDA ARS; Hamed Abbas: USDA ARS BCPRU; Michael Brewer: Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center-Corpus Christi; Luke Pruter: Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Department of Entomology; Nathan Little: Southern Insect Management Research Unit USDA-ARS
<div>Field trials were conducted over two years in two states (MS and TX) to examine the efficacy of biological control of aflatoxin in corn and the interactions with other mycotoxins and transgenic insect protection. Corn hybrid N78N3111, expressing the Cry 1Ab, Cry3A and Vip3Aa20 insecticidal proteins, was nearly 100 percent free from corn earworm damage and generally≥ 50% as much fumonisin contamination as compared to N78NGT, a near isogenic corn hybrid without insect protection. This insect protection, however, did not significantly prevent aflatoxin contamination. Soil application of non-aflatoxigenic biocontrol strains of <i>Aspergillus flavus</i> significantly reduced aflatoxin concentrations in corn. Biocontrol strain 21882 of <i>A. flavus</i> was especially effective, reducing aflatoxin contamination by about 90 percent over the seven field trials. There was no significant interaction between the insect protection and biocontrol treatments. Although no synergies were detected, the reduction of mycotoxins by both strategies supports application of both strategies in tandem. Economic factors external to the cost of the technologies will be a major determinant if the mycotoxin mitigation attained by use of these technologies will have a positive economic benefit.</div>

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