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Resistant varieties and role of plant health in Aflatoxin control Presenter: Dr. Arnold Mushongi ARI-Uyole CAAREA Tanzania Project Leader. CAAREA breeding-related activities. Maize research status in developing countries.

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Caarea breeding related activities

Resistant varieties and role of plant health in Aflatoxin control


Dr. Arnold Mushongi


CAAREA Tanzania Project Leader

CAAREA breeding-related activities

Maize research status in developing countries
Maize research status in developing countries control

Losses of maize grain yield due to various stresses in the developing world

  • Lost to stem borers = >10%

  • Lost to post harvest pests = >15%

  • Total insect pests = >25%

Loss of quality less studied!!!

Background in tanzania
Background in Tanzania control

  • Tanzania people: 44 million

  • 85% of Tanzanians depend on maize

  • 60% dietary calories, 50% daily protein; maize also cash crop; multiple uses (including feed)

  • Per capita consumption: annual 112.5kg (308g/person/day); national utilization ~3million metric tons(TFSD, 1996); GY = 3.66mt [FAOSTAT 2007] i.e. production ~ consumption

  • very low maize productivity: <1.5t/ha vs potential of 8t/ha due to multiple factors --- use 9kg/ha fertilizer (AFS, 2006), poverty, unstable climate, etc

More and more varieties needed that
More and more Varieties needed that: control

  • A. Yield higher

  • B. Are safe for human and livestock consumption

    • Plant health is key in achieving a) and b) above, since a stressed genotype will succumb to the stressors and consequently ill performance

  • Achieving a) and b) will contribute to improving national food security, alleviate poverty

Current interventions
Current interventions control

  • Two breeding projects on maize

  • I. On improved production and productivity

  • II. Food safety and human nutrition

    • Challenge: chances are limited to have varieties that have outstanding higher yields and are aflatoxin resistant

    • Efforts done to strike a balance

    • Note further that no crop variety in Tanzania are proven to be resistant to aflatoxin accumulation (TOSCI, 01 December 2012 – pers. comm.)

Project i agra
Project I: AGRA control

  • Title: Towards improvement and adoption of African Crops: Production, testing, promotion and distribution of seeds of improved hybrid Maize cultivars in the intermediate and transition-to-low altitude zones of Tanzania

  • Goal:To improve national food security and the livelihoods of poor rural farmers through access to new improved maize cultivars and an efficient quality seed production and distribution system in Tanzania

Key activities
Key activities control

  • Inbred-hybrid generation and evaluation

  • Maintenance breeding

  • Population improvement

  • Production of breeder and pre-basic seed for ASA and private sector

  • Promote and use participatory maize breeding

  • Convening meetings embracing PPP approach in the local seed industry

  • Extension messages on good agronomic practices for maize production

Targeted traits
Targeted traits control

  • High grain yield

  • Early maturity

  • Mitigating consequences of climate change

    • Drought tolerance

    • Striga weed tolerance

    • Maize streak virus tolerance

    • Early maturity

    • Other key biotic and abiotic stresses

    • Market traits i.e. end user preferences

Project ii specifically on breeding for resistance to aflatoxin accumulation milestones
Project II specifically on breeding for resistance to Aflatoxin accumulation: Milestones

  • 16 in total

    • Subdivided mainly to:

    • interacting with key stakeholders

    • National wide survey

    • Human/staff and institutional support

    • Field trials (inoculated and uninoculated)

    • Biobanking, manuscript publications

    • Strategic (culture of moving from Data to decision making) --- success of CAAREA !!!!!

Breeding target gy ma tolerance resistance
… Breeding target: GY + MA tolerance/resistance Aflatoxin accumulation: Milestones

  • Eco-biological + socioeconomic issues: drought, low soil fertility (N), high temperature, insect/disease resistance (pre, postharvest), farmers preferences, etc

  • Traits: GY components, tight husk cover, closed ear tips, flintier kernels, long EFPD, fast KDD, earliness, drooped ears, etc

    • Secondary traits targeted due to low heritability of aflatoxin accumulation cf. other types of mycotoxins

    • Implication: highly influenced by GxE interaction, more environments required to validate results

Ear kernel rots
Ear/kernel rots Aflatoxin accumulation: Milestones

A. Flavus and A. parasitucus produce aflatoxins

  • Pre-harvest: Maize ear samples (250) collected from 10 sites (low and highland maize)

  • Period: June-July 2012

  • Post-harvest: same sites

  • Period: September-October 2012

  • Trials planted at in two planting regimes in two sites with A. flavus (Table 1)

  • Secondary traits bred for and evaluated by MSc student in lowland maize

  • NxP fertiliser trial done by another MSc students in the Southern Highlands

Continous work field trial panels planting modeling
Continous work: Field trial panels, planting, modeling (low and highland maize)

  • Field trial (inoculated)

    • 40 entries (20 inbred lines, 10 highly advanced experimental hybrids, 10 very popular commercial hybrids)

    • FT uninoculated 10 popular varieties per agro-zone i.e. 20 experimental stations across Tanzania

    • data collection: weather, phenotypic

    • data analysis, modeling, risk maps-aflatoxin, stresses

Automatic weather station at trial site
Automatic weather station at trial site (low and highland maize)

Capacity building
Capacity building (low and highland maize)

  • MSc students (Christine Kaswahili, Sokoine University of Agriculture; and Samuel Msuya, Open University of Tanzania;

  • Nursery crossing block at ARI-Ilonga (Dr Mushongi and MSc student Ms Christina Kaswahili)

From R. Nelson, Cornell University (low and highland maize)

From R. Nelson, Cornell University (low and highland maize)

From R. Nelson, Cornell University (low and highland maize)

Aflatoxin level tested inbred lines caarea kenya
Aflatoxin level tested inbred lines (CAAREA- Kenya) (low and highland maize)


Above 100ppb


Inoculated maize genotypes (entries)

FT2FT2 analysis beginning January

overlap of genotypes in Tanzania  quicker, more confident answers

analysis beginning Januarynotypes in Tanzania  confident answers

Potential opportunities for scaling up
Potential opportunities for scaling up (low and highland maize)

  • Successful models developed from this project would be applied to

    • other crops where aflatoxin is a problem

    • as decision support systems along the nodes of crop value chain

    • reliably predict and demarcate target population of environments as hotspots for breeding goals against aflatoxin accumulation (including other mycotoxins in other food and feed systems)

Potential opportunities for scaling up1
……Potential opportunities for scaling up (low and highland maize)

  • Human and institutional capacity building would foster national efforts to mitigate the problem in long run

  • Sustainable impact would result from the approach emphasized by AGRA of promoting the PPP approach in the local seed industry; breeding and releasing new varieties; and cooperation with local government, ASA and TOSCI.

    • For instance from the CAAREA research outputs, TOSCI would be advised to include a criterion of resistance/tolerance to aflatoxin in major crops before their varieties are released while ASA and the private sector could popularize use of such varieties.

Thank you! (low and highland maize)