Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab

A blog about leading science in peanut and food security.

Kenya allocates 1.5 Billion Kenyan shillings to fight aflatoxin

In its first cabinet meeting of the year, the government of Kenya has allocated 1.5 billion Kenyan Shillings to fight against the aflatoxin problem in the country. The government is looking to scale-up interventions for aflatoxin control and management in the most affected counties in Kenya. The allocated budget is…
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Call for Papers: AJFAND Aflatoxins in East Africa

The African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (AJFAND) is issuing a call for papers for special edition on aflatoxins in East Africa. This proposal for a special edition on aflatoxins in East Africa aims to address the problem of aflatoxins in a region that has been severely affected in…
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PMIL offers webinars on Aflatoxin sampling protocols

Not long after aflatoxin was discovered and methods were developed for analyzing commodities for contamination levels, researchers and the industry quickly realized there was a problem.

“I would get a call from the industry explaining that they had tested the same lot three times and gotten 0, 0 and 100 parts per billion (ppb). What’s wrong with our test?” said Dr. Tom Whitaker as an introduction to the webinar on sampling variability of mycotoxins. Much of Dr. Whitaker’s 42-year career with the USDA has been aimed at resolving this issue, along with his lab mate Andrew Slate.

The extreme variance in aflatoxin testing is caused by the irregular distribution of the contaminated individual grains and the potential that those individual grains may contain highly concentrated amounts of the toxin. For example, lab results have shown that an individual peanut kernel may contain 1 million ppb, while the commercial acceptance threshold in the US is only 20ppb. Whitaker and Slate have spent years analyzing the statistical probability of that individual kernel entering into the sampling and developed sampling and testing protocols for the USDA and Codex Alimentarius that attempt to strike a balance between the risk of over or under detection.
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PMIL collaborators mentor African Borlaug Fellows to study aflatoxin

As part of the Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program, two visiting researchers are working to ensure the safety the peanut crop in Africa with the help of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

The college's Office of Global Programs hosted the researchers, Agnes Mwangwela from Malawi and Joelle Kajuga from Rwanda, for two months this fall and introduced them to UGA researchers who are working to solve the problem of aflatoxin contamination in peanuts.

All of Mwangwela and Kajuga's mentors are PMIL Collaborators.
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Q&A with Abdi Mohammed: Aflatoxin Management of Eastern Ethiopia Groundnut

Abdi Mohammad Hassen

Abdi Mohammed Hassen is a short-term Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab (PMIL) trainee working with PMIL Lead Scientist Renee Arias at the United States Department of Agriculture National Peanut Research Laboratory (USDA NPL) in Dawson, Georgia. Abdi worked with Arias from August 5th until October 27th of 2014. He has returned home to complete his PhD degree in Plant Pathology from Haramaya University, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. He plans to graduate in October/November, 2016.
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Growing Indiana: UGA Lab Helps Farmers Around the Globe Fight Mycotoxin

Jamie Rhoads, assistant director of the USAID-funded PMIL, which is housed in UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, was featured in Growing Indiana, an Agriculture Business publication on 24 October, 2014. The article focuses on how he helped to create a poster, brochure and guidebook that will help smallholder…
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PMIL Assistant Director helps develop international extension materials on aflatoxin control in smallholder peanut production

Jamie Rhoads, Assistant Director of the USAID funded Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab (PMIL) housed at the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, is participating in a writing workshop at the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation’s (CTA) International Forum, October 13th through 17th 2014, in Arnhem, Netherlands. He is helping to finalize a poster, brochure and guidebook that will help smallholder farmers globally decrease aflatoxin contamination in peanuts.
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