Despite being infected with Aspergillus fungus, this transgenic corn cob is not contaminated with aflatoxin, thanks to its defense line of RNA molecules that shut down the toxin production in the fungus. Photo: Monica Schmidt
Despite being infected with Aspergillus fungus, this transgenic corn cob is not contaminated with aflatoxin, thanks to its defense line of RNA molecules that shut down the toxin production in the fungus.

HIGS approach could eliminate aflatoxin

Researchers pioneer new approach that could save millions of tons of crops from aflatoxin contamination, a major threat to health and food security.

Researchers at the University of Arizona have found a promising way to prevent the loss of millions of tons of crops to a fungus each year, offering the potential to dramatically improve food security, especially in developing countries.

The team's approach uses transgenic corn plants that produce small RNA molecules that prevent fungi from producing aflatoxin, highly toxic substances that can render an entire harvest unsafe for human or livestock consumption, even in small amounts.

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