Aflatoxin: A Growing Problem This Season?

Problems with aflaltoxin could be more wide spread this season, Gary Crawford has more:

“First its heat then drought sharply reducing the size of the corn crop, and on top of that we have the fungus Aspergillus flavus that can produce the cancer causing aflatoxin, this from Agricultural Plant Pathologist Dr. Kitty Cartwell, she says this years wide spread, and very severe heat and drought combination is perfect for this fungus. It loves the heat and flourishes while all the other fungi shrivel up and die. The Aflotoxin fungus lives in the soil, but in the case of corn, especially when the ground is dry and there is a bit of wind, it blows up on to the silk of the corn. The corn silk is designed to catch the pollen of corn, but it also happens to catch the spores of Aspergillus flavus. So that is how it gets into the corn ear.

It can be there unbeknownst to anyone. When it is put into storage for a while, the toxin starts building up in the grain.

Farmers and grain traders in normally hot, dry areas are somewhat used to seeing the Aspergillus flavus fungus in corn, handling the toxin that the fungus can produce. They have the testing procedures ready. But with the huge area of hot dry weather this year, you will probably be seeing in areas that don’t typically have to worry about it. We are already getting reports of aflatoxin showing up in samples in Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and on up into Indiana. We may see more as the harvest progresses.

If you are a farmer that has never had to worry about this problem before, one way to determine if you might have this problem is to take ten kernels and put them in a moist paper towel for a day or so. If what grows out of the kernel is bright green, that is Aspergillus flavus . If you get bright green on a lot of those kernels, then you want to get a lot of corn tested in a local lab.

FDA regulation of the minimum amounts of aflatoxin allowed for human and animal health will ensure no health hazards. This is primarily an economic concern. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.