Friday, 19 October 2012

Bioplastic Aspergillus 'Bullets' Fight Aflatoxins

Aspergillus growing out of a bioplastic pellet
The USDA has developed an efficient method of 'packaging' biocompetative strains of Aspergillus for use to introduce strains of Aspergillus that do not produce dangerous aflatoxins onto crops that are at risk from growth of strains of Aspergillus that do produce mycotoxins - it is established that the non-producers can outgrow the aflatoxin producing strains in the field while crops are growing and thus reduce the amount of aflatoxin contaminating the crop.

'Bioplastic bullets' made out of cornstarch and vegetable oil are effective at containing the 'non-producer' fungus for dispersal and subsequently allow good growth of the fungus. This method of packaging has improved properties for stable storage of the mold compared with the earlier methods involving the used of grain coated in fungal material, and the bioplastic is a lot less attractive to animals that eat seeds & grain so losses are reduced (as well as reducing the health risk to the animals presumably). Bioplastic degrades naturally once scattered onto the field.

For full story click here.

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