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Variation in Competitive Ability Among Isolates of Aspergillus flavus



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Mycology Variation in Competitive Ability Among Isolates of Aspergillus flavus from Different Vegetative Compatibility Groups During Maize Infection H L Mehl and P J Cotty U S Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service School of Plant Sciences The University of Arizona P O Box 210036 Tucson 85721 0036 Accepted for publication 5 October 2009 ABSTRACT Mehl H L and Cotty P J 2010 Variation in competitive ability among isolates of Aspergillus flavus from different vegetative compatibility groups during maize infection Phytopathology 100 150 159 Aspergillus flavus the primary causal agent of aflatoxin contamination includes many genetically diverse vegetative compatibility groups VCGs Competitive ability during infection of living maize kernels was quantified for isolates from 38 VCGs Kernels were inoculated with both a common VCG CG136 and another VCG after 7 days 31 C conidia were washed from kernels and aflatoxins and DNA were extracted from kernels and conidia separately CG136 specific single nucleotide polymorphisms were quantified by pyrosequencing VCGs co inoculated with CG136 produced 46 to 85 and 51 to 84 of A flavus DNA from kernels Aflatoxins potent and carcinogenic mycotoxins produced by fungi in Aspergillus section Flavi are frequent contaminants of food and feed crops Aspergillus flavus is the most commonly isolated causal agent of aflatoxin contamination 5 54 of many crops including maize cotton peanut and tree nuts 21 Levels of aflatoxins in food and feed crops are strictly regulated in many countries 53 58 thus aflatoxins can cause reduced crop value due to loss of premium markets In the United States for example crops for human consumption cannot exceed 20 ppb of total aflatoxin 48 but certain crop components may contain more than 106 ppb 38 Frequency and severity of contamination are influenced by both climate and the composition of resident A flavus communities 1 18 34 Individual A flavus isolates vary in many characteristics including



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