Testing the Efficacy of eGFP-Transformed Aspergillus flavus as Biocontrol Strains


Current biological control methods to prevent pre-harvest aflatoxin contamination of corn, cottonseed, and ground and tree nuts involve field inoculation of non-aflatoxigenic Aspergillus flavus. To date, the efficacy of this approach requires annual reapplication of the biocontrol agent. The reason for this requirement is uncertain. To track the dispersal and test the longevity of these strains, we prepared fluorescent biocontrol strains by incorporating into them the gene expressing the enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP). We first investigated the effects of eGFP transformation on the ability of the fluorescent fungus to compete with its non-fluorescent homolog, and then with other heterologous non-aflatoxigenic strains as well as with aflatoxigenic isolates. Our findings indicate that, in these studies, detection of fluorescence was variable, with some fluorescent strains exhibiting enhanced growth and sporulation post-transformation. In our tests, not all transformed strains proved to be good candidates for tracking because their fluorescence was reduced over the course of our study. Most of the transformed strains retained fluorescence and showed robust colony growth in an artificial competitor environment; therefore, they should be suited for further trial under more natural settings. Our ultimate objective is to determine if out-crossing between biocontrol strains and native field populations is occurring in a natural setting.

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G. Moore, B. Mack and S. Beltz, "Testing the Efficacy of eGFP-Transformed Aspergillus flavus as Biocontrol Strains," Food and Nutrition Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 4, 2013, pp. 469-479. doi: 10.4236/fns.2013.44060.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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