Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab

A blog about leading science in peanut and food security.

Check out this new video about proper drying of groundnuts

A new video about aflatoxin — where it comes from, how it spreads and how to discourage it — is available through AccessAgriculture. The video combines interviews with local farmers, indigenous music and engaging landscape scenes, as a narrator gives practical advice about drying and storing groundnuts.

The video, which was funded through the McKnight Foundation’s Collaborative Crop Research Program and produced by Agro-Insight, explains that groundnuts are nutritious and sell for a good price, but can develop mold. Fighting that mold and the aflatoxin it produces is important in the field, but even more so during drying and storage.

InterDrought-V conference live-streamed this week

The InterDrought-V conference held in Hyderabad, India this week will be streamed live through Blue Jean Communications.  The conference continues a series meant to serve as a platform for discussing strategies to respond to drought.  The event will include speakers, a panel discussion, and new publications related to the topic.
The event takes place on Indian Standard Time (five and a half hours ahead of GMT and 10 and a half hours ahead of Eastern Time).  The conference’s opening session will begin Tuesday evening (Tuesday morning in the West).  The discussions begin the following day organized into two-hour sessions for the remainder of the conference.
Both the program for the panel discussion and an Abstract Book published by Nature India are available on the event website.

MFK interns defend research thesis

Congrats to two Meds & Food for Kids interns, Gary Benoit and Exan Desamours, who have successfully defended their thesis. The Université Roi Henri Christophe students now will make modifications to their final document before submitting it.

MFK, the Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab’s partner in Haiti, provides students research opportunities on its campus in Cap-Haïtien. In exchange, MFK uses the research findings to help smallholder farmers produce a larger, safer crop of peanuts.

Benoit and Desamours studied timing of fungicide application.

Administrators at the university said the internship program through MFK has been an integral part of the agronomy program and important in helping students gain research experience and complete their end-of-studies theses.

Pictured here are Benoit and Desamours, along with current students Rodnie Valmy and Rodemane Saint Louis, who are currently preparing for their thesis defense.

Time to nominate for APRES honors

The American Peanut Research and Education Society is soliciting nominations for awards recognizing an individual’s service to the peanut industry or APRES, outstanding paper, outstanding research project, outstanding education project and outstanding graduate student speaker during its Annual Meeting.

This year, that meeting will be held July 11-13 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Eligibility rules and nomination criteria for APRES’ Annual Recognition Awards can be found on the APRES website at under the Member tab. Nominations should be sent to the chairman of the award.

Submission deadline for all awards is May 1, unless otherwise noted.


Webinar looks at trends in scientific publishing in low-income countries

The FAO of the United Nations and Research4Life are hosting a series of webinars as part of an online course by A.S.I.R.A. (Access to Scientific Information Resources in Agriculture) specifically for professionals working in low-income countries.

It’s too late to sign up for the course, but the webinar sessions are open to anyone and follow the same themes as the course. (See below for registration link)

People who are not signed up for the course should register for the webinars. The first is on Feb. 15, and register by Feb. 13. (more…)

Va. Tech seeking PhD candidate for peanut research project

Virginia Tech is looking for a doctoral candidate in crop physiology to work at the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Suffolk on a project related to drought tolerance in peanuts.

The project, which runs through 2019, is in collaboration with a physiologist and peanut breeder at North Carolina State University and is focused on identifying peanut lines with drought tolerance for the mid-Atlantic region.

Research will be conducted using rainout shelters, and irrigated and non-irrigated trials in farmers’ fields in Virginia.

Whole-plant physiological mechanisms of interest include, but are not limited to, photosynthesis, transpiration and water use, stomatal conductance, and various vegetation indices such as NDVI, Canopy temperature, and other digital vegetation indices. These indices will be collected with sensors on the ground and on an unmanned aerial octocopter platform.

To explain the physiological mechanisms at the molecular level, two RIL (F6:7) families were developed and are ready for phenotyping and genotyping in collaboration with faculty in the plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Sciences (PPWS) department at Virginia Tech.

The student researcher ideally would start in May or June of this year.

Contact Maria Balota ( and/or apply to the Graduate Programs of the PPWS department.

PhD fellowship available for gender research in maize

Wageningen University & Research in The Netherlands and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, CIMMYT, are offering a PhD fellowship in Gender-Responsive Innovation in Maize and Wheat.

Innovation in agriculture and natural resource management is critical to reducing rural poverty, but gender norms and social restrictions often influence the ability of different groups of women – and men – to learn about, participate in and benefit from innovation processes. Yet, how and why this occurs in some circumstances and not others is poorly understood. In order to address this and improve the capacity of agricultural research and development (AR&D) to design and scale out agricultural innovations that also enable both poor women and men to participate and benefit, a group of social scientists from various international agricultural research centers of the CGIAR initiated GENNOVATE, a qualitative comparative research initiative focused on the interlinkages between gender norms, agency and agricultural innovation processes.   (more…)

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