Scientific name: Aspergillus flavus, A. parasiticus
Causal organism: Fungus
Common names: Aspergillus boll rot of cotton, Aspergillus corn ear rot, Yellow mold of peanut, Storage rot
Corn, cotton, peanut, and tree nuts are the preferred hosts but will also infect cowpea, mungbean, onion, pigeon pea, rice, sorghum, soybean, string beans, wheat, and other crops
Affected plant parts
The whole plant and the stored seeds
Affected plant stages
All growth stages
Infected plant is stunted. The leaves have abnormal colors and the lesions have fungal growth.
Infected seeds have gray-green or greenish-yellow molds, are discolored, and rotten. When they are used for sowing, they have a very poor germination rate.
Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring toxic chemical by-product from the fungal growth of the Aspergillus flavus on infected crops. It is toxic to animals, poultry, and humans. It can cause hepatocellular carcinoma, one of the most common cancers on humans in developing tropical countries.
Conditions that favor development
- Monocropping. When peanut, corn, or cotton is continuously planted in the same area for several years, there is a high risk of aflatoxin development in the field
- Plants that are water-stressed
- Infected seeds used for planting
- High moisture content on the stored crop
- Poor aeration in the storage area
Prevention and control
- Proper cultivars and seed selection
- Timely planting
- Proper soil management
- Following the recommended planting distance
- Control of field insect pests like that allow infection
- Timely harvesting. For corn, harvest the cobs when they are fully mature, when all the leaves of the plant turn yellow. For peanut, separate the broken kernels
- Proper drying and storage. Grains must have 11-14% moisture content to prevent aflatoxin development for storage longer than 1 year. For peanut, moisture content should be below 8%.
- Storage area must be well aerated
- Control the storage pests
- Basil extract