Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab

A blog about leading science in peanut and food security.

Job open for five-year ag project in Ethopia

ACDI-VOCA,  a private, international development nonprofit, is looking for a person to fill the role of Chief of Party for a five-year USAID-funded Feed the Future project in Ethopia. Based in Washington, D.C., ACDI/VOCA provides technical and management assistance in agribusiness, financial services, enterprise development, community development and food security in order to promote broad-based economic growth.

The project will work to increase nutrition-sensitive agricultural productivity, strengthen market systems and trade and improve the agricultural enabling environment. The Chief of Party will provide overall technical vision, leadership, and project management, as well as supervise international consultants and local project staff, among other responsibilities. (more…)

PMIL researcher releases genome of nine A. flavus isolates

With the financial support of Feed the Future’s Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab, the research team of plant pathologist Renee Arias has released nine genomes of Aspergillus isolated from peanuts in Georgia in 2014.

Arias’ team is working to use RNA interference (RNAi) to reduce aflatoxin contamination of peanut seeds.

Dr. Paola Faustinelli, who works with Arias at the USDA-ARS National Peanut Research Laboratory in Dawson, Georgia, wrote a short manuscript for Genome Announcements to make the official release.

The genomes are available at NCBI-GeneBank www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.

This Whole Genome Shotgun project has been deposited at DDBJ/ENA/GenBank under the accession XXXX00000000. The version described in this paper is version XXXX01000000.

PMIL researcher, Renee Arias, recognized by Obama for contribution to science

Renee Arias, a Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab researcher, was recognized by President Obama today with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers. The 106 winners will receive awards at a ceremony this spring in Washington, D.C.

Working at the National Peanut Research Laboratory in Dawson, Ga., Arias hopes to use RNA interference (RNAi) to reduce aflatoxin contamination of peanut seeds. Aflatoxin is a natural byproduct of mold that grows in the soil; by studying the RNA of Aspergillus mold, Arias could create a peanut variety that turns off the mold’s gene that creates toxin. (more…)

Registration open for the 2016 Legume Society Conference

The early-bird deadline for the Second International Legume Society Conference is approaching on March 15.

The conference, held by the International Legume Society and the Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica António Xavier of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa , is scheduled for 11-14 October, 2016 at the Tróia resort near Lisbon, Portugal. (more…)

Study links aflatoxin with widespread stunting in children

A new report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) found that aflatoxin likely is causing widespread stunting in children throughout Africa and Asia.

The results and analysis of possible interventions are published in the report Mycotoxin Control in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, which is available in English, French, and Spanish.

“The report stresses the need for a coordinated international response to the problem of mycotoxin contamination of food,” says IARC Director Christopher Wild. “Its health impact has been neglected for too long. We have the tools to make a difference. Now we must find the political will.”

An estimated 500 million of the poorest people in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Asia are exposed to the pervasive natural toxins, aflatoxins and fumonisins, on a daily basis by eating their staple diet of groundnuts (called peanuts in the U.S.), maize, and other cereals. (more…)

PACA workshop to focus on aflatoxin effects on health, nutrition

The Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) will hold a workshop, Engaging the Health and Nutrition Sectors in Aflatoxin PACAControl in Africa, in collaboration with the Amref Health Africa, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) – International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).

The workshop is scheduled for 23-24 March 2016 at African Union Commission Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (more…)

Thought for Food taking sustainable ag project proposals

The Thought for Food initiative is seeking proposals for research projects that advance understanding of the sustainability of food systems and explore innovative solutions to achieve it. Successful proposals may include a new collaboration between different types of disciplines with a specific focus on combining natural and social sciences, and that are inclusive of diverse stakeholders. (more…)

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