Factors

Conditions in the stored grain are more stable and controlled than those in the field. Stored cereal grain offers a good ecological niche for fungi. The aw, temperature, O2 level, interactions with other organisms like insects, chemical preservatives, and storage time are considered the most important factors that control the growth of fungi in grains but cannot be considered in isolation. All these factors interact with each other during storage. For instance, fluctuations in temperature can cause condensation of water that increases the water activity in pockets of stored grain. Damage to the kernels not only increases susceptibility to fungal invasion, especially if this occurs near the embryo, but also increases the likelihood of visible molding (Perez et al. 1982; Tuite et al. 1985; Lacey et al. 1991).

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