Sclerotia Formation and Toxin Production in Large Sclerotial Aspergillus flavus Isolates from Kenya
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We studied the relationship between sclerotia formation and aflatoxin production by Aspergillusflavus strains isolated from maize kernels from Nandi County. Isolates recovered from maize kernels were tested for their ability to form sclerotia on different growth media. PCR analysis was done on the isolates to detect 2 structural genes, aflD and aflQ, involved in aflatoxin biosynthesis pathway. Positive A. flavus isolates for one or both genes were grown on Yeast Extract Sucrose Agar medium and aflatoxins quantified using LCMSMS. All the isolates formed large sclerotia and their formation was influenced by media type but could not be related to amount of aflatoxins produced both in vivo and in vitro. Though sclerotia are perennating structures and so contribute to survival index of a fungus, their initiation is regulated by external factors though ability to form is genetic. This brings ambiguity of their presence or abundance as a measure of toxicity.
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