On the Radio: Poisonous fungus threatens corn crop

Photo by agrilifetoday, Flickr.

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s episode highlights a new threat to Iowa’s corn crop.

A poison from fungus adds even more worry to this year’s drought-damaged corn crop.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Aflatoxins are produced by a fungus that grows on corn and thrives in hot and dry conditions. In high quantities, aflatoxins are poisonous for both humans and animals. In fact, the most common aflatoxin is carcinogenic and can be consumed by humans through the milk of contaminated cows.

Farmers, crop inspectors and grain elevators are watching for high quantities of the fungus in corn-producing states. In Iowa, the Department of Agriculture announced that milk will be screened for aflatoxins for an indefinite period of time.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture also submitted a request to the FDA to allow corn contaminated with small amounts of aflatoxin to be blended with non-contaminated corn for animal feed.

For more information on aflatoxins, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Jerry Schnoor.

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