Drought, pod yield, pre-harvest Aspergillus infection and aflatoxin contamination on peanut in Niger
Craufurd, P. Q., Prasad, P. V. V., Waliyar, F. and Taheri, A. (2006) Drought, pod yield, pre-harvest Aspergillus infection and aflatoxin contamination on peanut in Niger. Field Crops Research, 98 (1). pp. 20-29. ISSN 0378-4290
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.fcr.2005.12.001
Soil moisture and soil temperature affect pre-harvest infection with Aspergillus flavus and production of aflatoxin. The objectives of our field research in Niger, West Africa, were to: (i) examine the effects of sowing date and irrigation treatments on pod yield, infection with A. flavus and aflatoxin concentration; and (ii) to quantify relations between infection, aflatoxin concentration and soil moisture stress. Seed of an aflatoxin susceptible peanut cv. JL24 was sown at two to four different sowing dates under four irrigation treatments (rainfed and irrigation at 7, 14 and 21 days intervals) between 1991 and 1994, giving 40 different 'environments'. Average air and soil temperatures of 28-34 degrees C were favourable for aflatoxin contamination. CROPGRO-peanut model was used to simulate the occurrence of moisture stress. The model was able to simulate yields of peanut well over the 40 environments (r(2) = 0.67). In general, early sowing produced greater pod yields, as well as less infection and lower aflatoxin concentration. There were negative linear relations between infection (r(2) = 0.62) and the average simulated fraction of extractable soil water (FESW) between flowering and harvest, and between aflatoxin concentration (r(2) = 0.54) and FESW in the last 25 days of pod-filling. This field study confirms that infection and aflatoxin concentration in peanut can be related to the occurrence of soil moisture stress during pod-filling when soil temperatures are near optimal for A. flavus. These relations could form the basis of a decision-support system to predict the risk of aflatoxin contamination in peanuts in similar environments. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.