Growing fungi-free corns

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By Edna Garde

Edible Landscape

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


THE month of August is normally the peak month of harvesting mature corn. How ironic, since it is also the time that many typhoons may happen.

With all the rains during harvesting time, it is a big problem for the corn producers to dry their corn especially when they do not have the mechanical dryer. It is then a great hazard for the corn industry, and practically, great losses.

This is one reason I feel I must share some knowledge, which I learned seven years ago from Bohol—one of the corn-producing provinces in the country.

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I am also sharing the knowledge I learned from the Bureau of Postharvest Research and Extension (BPRE), being their partner in the broadcast industry, and the OPA (Office of the Provincial Agriculturist)-FITS manager before I retired from the service.

Actually, my conviction in giving you some information about the aflatoxin in corn stems from my own personal experience. I just learned about the evil of this fungus in corn when I attended that training.

It was from that learning process that I learned the reason that one time, our chicken refused to eat the crack-corn I bought from the market.

It is a natural tendency of the animals not to eat something that may poison them, and to eat anything that give them healthy advantage.

I learned from that seminar that when a chicken has eaten the feeds infested with aflatoxin, the fungi stays in the liver and cannot be destroyed by boiling point of water.

Aflatoxin is the most widely known mycotoxin, a poisonous substance produced by the fungi Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. Aflatoxin-contaminated corn reduces market price and thus low economic gain.

Have you observed sometimes there are greenish parts in some part of a chicken’s liver? It is the diseased liver that you must have bought. When you eat that, it can be hazardous to your health.

So why MACS (Maize Aflatoxin Control System)? BPRE recommends the MACS is the best approach to prevent aflatoxin contamination. It is an integrated set of technologies which aims to produce aflatoxin-safe corn.

MACS aims to minimize fungal infection to reduce post-harvest losses and address the need for good quality corn that is highly acceptable in the domestic and global market.

Again, why? Maize or corn is the second major crop in the Philippines. It is grown largely for feeds and food products. However, because of the rapid deterioration of wet grains caused by mold growth, farmers suffer financial losses.

BPRE has important note to the public for this matter. “Aflatoxin create economic and health hazards. To protect human and animal population and save on the country’s resources, we must address this global problem. We must be conscious of our right to sufficient, safe food and feeds available in the market. Knowledge, vigilance and commitment are necessary to keep aflatoxin away from the food chain, out of the life blood of the nation”.

For more information, visit BPRE website www.bpre.gov.ph

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 12, 2014.

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