Farid Waliyar P Lava Kumar Aoua Traor Bonny R Ntare Bamory Diarra and Ondi Kodio

Abstract

Aflatoxins produced by Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus are common contaminants of peanut (Arachis hypogea) and a major threat to consumers, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Aflatoxin contamination is a serious concern given their hepatotoxic properties and their widespread occurrence during cultivation, harvest, drying, storage, transit and distribution. Pre-harvest infection by A. flavus is the major cause of aflatoxin contamination in peanut. Its prevention is a complicated task that requires a series of intervention strategies to be merged with traditional farming practices. The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and its partners have developed an integrated approach to mitigate A. flavus infestation and aflatoxin contamination by combining: (i) host plant resistance, (ii) soil amendments with lime and organic supplements to enhance water holding capacity, plant vigor and seed health, (iii) timely harvesting and postharvest drying methods, (iv) the use of antagonistic bio-control agents, such as Trichoderma and Pseudomonads, and (v) awareness campaigns and training courses to disseminate technology to the end-users. This approach can successfully reduce aflatoxin contamination in peanuts in West and Central Africa. This approach is simple, economical and suitable for subsistence farming conditions, but also can be scaled up for use on commercial farms in developing countries in Africa and Asia.

Introduction

Groundnut or peanut (Arachis hypogea) is an oil seed and food legume crop cultivated on 22 million ha with a production of 48,000,000 t (FAO, 2006). More than 95% of peanut production occurs in the developing countries of Asia and Africa. Some 4-6% of the total global production of peanuts is traded internationally, but most of the crop serves subsistence needs and is marketed domestically, often without entering any formal grain trading channels (Ntare et al., 2005). In many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, peanut production, marketing and trade are sources of employment, income and foreign exchange (Ntare et al, 2005). However, peanuts produced in Sub-Saharan Africa are highly susceptible to attack by the Aspergillus group of soilborne fungi that produce toxic secondary metabolites known as aflatoxins (Payne, 1998).

Management Options

Host Plant Resistance

Conventional breeding Transgenic approach with anti-fungal and anti-mycotoxin genes

Bio-control Agents

Trichoderma, Pseudomonads, atoxigenic strains

Cultural Practices

Planting date, Soil amendments (gypsum, compost)

Harvesting and Post-harvesting Technologies Drying and Storages

Technology Transfer & Socioeconomic Issues

Regional studies & monitoring Public Awareness Trade implications Advisory panels Consultation to Industries Training

Assessment I Implementation at Regional level

Devising Appropriate Regional Package and Promotion

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