Fungus incidence on peanut grains as affected by drying method and Ca nutrition

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An experiment was conducted to study the effects of liming and drying method on Ca nutrition, fungus infection and aflatoxin production potential on peanut (Arachis hypogea) grains. Peanut cv. Botutatu was grown in the absence or presence of liming to raise the base saturation of the soil from 20 to 56%. Calcium contents of the soil were increased from 5.5 to 14.6 mmol((c))kg-1 and pH from 4.2 to 4.9. After harvest, plants and pods were dried in (1) shade, (2) field down to 100 g water kg-1 (3) field down to 250 g water kg-1 and transferred to a forced-air oven at 30°C, (4) field down to 360 g water kg-1 and transferred to a forced-air oven at 30°C. Calcium contents were analyzed in the grains, pericarps and seed coats. The incidence of Aspergillus spp., Penicillium spp., Rhizopus spp. and potential aflatoxin production in vitro were evaluated, as well as the seed coat thickness. The seed coat was thicker when peanut was grown in the presence of lime, leading to a decrease in seed infection by Aspergillus spp. and Penicillium spp. When plants were dried in shade, the growth of aflatoxinogenic fungi was independent of liming. However, in plants dried in the field or field + oven, the development of these fungi was decreased and even suppressed when the Ca content of the seed coat was increased from 2.2 to 5.5 g kg-1.




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Field Crops Research, v. 52, n. 1-2, p. 9-15, 1997.

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