Burrower Bug Occurrence as Affected by Environment and its Role on Aflatoxin Contamination of Runner Peanut


Auburn University

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Southeast (GA, FL, AL)

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Aflatoxins are highly carcinogenic compounds that can naturally contaminate peanuts. The source of this contamination are fungi that inhabit soil in which peanuts develop. Managing aflatoxin contamination is difficult, since the soil harbors insects and nematodes that cause damage to peanut pods. One of these insects is the burrower bug. Little is known or has been published on this insect in the southeast U.S. Therefore, our study sought to gain more information about the burrower bug and to determine if burrower bug damage was directly linked to aflatoxin contamination of peanut. 
Over the four years in which this study was done, we found relatively few burrower bugs and very low levels of aflatoxin contamination. A second study site was installed in 2013, and a greater number of burrower bugs were found there. The higher incidence of these bugs at the second site may be due to the lack of rotation at that site. More work is needed on the burrower bug, its ecology and possible role in aflatoxin contamination. However, weather plays a critical role in this toxin-insect-peanut system and studies do frequently fail. 

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