Control of preharvest aflatoxin contamination in maize by pyramiding QTL involved in resistance to ear-feeding insects and invasion by Aspergillus spp
N.W. Widstrom; A. Butron; B.Z. Guo; D.M. Wilson; M.E. Snook; T.E. Cleveland; R.E. Lynch
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European Journal of Agronomy
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Abstract: Several resistance sources and resistance mechanisms to aflatoxin formation and corn earworm (Helicoverpa zea Boddie) damage to maize (Zea mays L.) have been identified. Based on this knowledge, experiments were initiated toward achievement of the following objectives: (1) to confirm earlier determinations on resistance traits of germplasm sources and to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with each of the traits, and (2) upon estimation of the degree of QTL effects on each trait, to generate a maize population, with chemical and physical resistance to Aspergillus spp. and ear-feeding insects, for inbred development. A 2-year field experiment to evaluate selected genotypes inoculated with A. flavus and infested with corn earworm revealed that significant variation exists among the genotypes for aflatoxin contamination and corn earworm damage. The protection of maize ears against aflatoxin contamination was primarily dependent on resistance to fungal infection and ear-feeding insects, and excellent husk coverage and tightness. A major QTL (p1) identified on chromosome 1S had effects of 54.0, 42.1, and 28.3% on the phenotypic variability for concentrations of silk maysin, 3? methoxymaysin /apimaysin, and chlorogenic acid, respectively. Markers/QTLs for husk phenotypic traits and total aflatoxin concentrations have been determined, but more detailed mapping of these chromosomic regions will be necessary to locate precise markers/QTLs for husk traits and aflatoxin production. Realizing the complexity of the Aspergillus /aflatoxin-maize system and the factors affecting aflatoxin contamination, we are directing our program toward marker-assisted breeding to enhance or improve General genetic resistance to ear-feeding insects and invasion by Aspergillus spp.