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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Aflatoxin Contamination of Preharvest Corn in Georgia: A Six-Year Study of Insect Damage and Visible Aspergillus flavus1


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 14 No. 2, p. 200-202
    Received: May 22, 1984

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  1. W. W. Mc Millian,
  2. D. M. Wilson and
  3. N. W. Widstrom2



Insect damage, Aspergillus flavus Link infection, and aflatoxin contamination are recurring problems in preharvest corn (Zea mays L.) in the Coastal Plain of Georgia. A 6-yr study (1977–1982) over 46-county area revealed that insect damage ranged from a mean of 1.7 cm per ear in 1979 to 4.0 cm per ear in 1977. The incidence of aflatoxin contamination in grain samples ranged from 57% in 1982 to 100% in 1980. The highest concentration of aflatoxin (4708 µg kg−1 was recorded in a feld sample collected in 1977. The action level set by the Food and Drug Administration for aflatoxin is 20 µg kg−1. Insect damage contributed significantly to enhanced A. flavus sporulation and aflatoxin contamination. Levels of aflatoxin were positively correlated with temperature and total net evaporation. The occurrence of undamaged, uncontaminated corn in the Coastal Plain during a majority of the years suggests that crop management, including hybrid selection, planting date, and irrigation, may have a significant influence on the quantity of quality corn grain produced.

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