The aflatoxins are a group of chemically similar poisonous, carcinogenic fungal secondary metabolites produced by Aspergillus flavus, A. parasiticus, and A. nomius, which are abundant in warm and humid regions of the world. They are probably the most intensively researched toxins in the world due to their carcinogenic and mutagenic effects. Aflatoxins have also been identified as a potential biological weapon for food and water contamination. The four major aflatoxins commonly isolated from different foods and feed stuffs are AFB1, AF B2, AFG1, and AFG2. Aflatoxin contamination of food and feed has gained global significance as a result of its deleterious effects on human as well as livestock health including gastrointestinal dysfunction, reduced feed utilization, anemia, jaundice, liver damage and immunity suppression. The profitability and marketing of various agricultural products are adversely affected by either contamination of aflatoxins or aflatoxin‐producing fungi. The foods at highest risk of aflatoxin contamination are maize, chilies, peanuts, and cotton seeds. There are various physical, chemical, and natural methods investigated to prevent aflatoxin production and the growth of aflatoxin‐producing fungus in various agricultural products. Here, we describe various natural plant extracts that would be potential source of controlling aflatoxin production in agricultural products.
Part of the book: Aflatoxin
Nonrenewable energy resources deplete with the passage of time due to rapid increase in industrialization and population. Hence, countries worldwide are investing dearly in substitute energy resources like biofuel from miscellaneous set of feedstocks. Among the energy crops, sorghum serves as a model crop due to its drought tolerance, small genome size (730 Mb), high biomass, dry matter contents, quick growth, wide adaptability to diverse climatic and soil conditions and C4 photosynthesis. Sweet sorghum with high sugar content in stalk is an efficient feedstock for advanced biofuels and other bio-based products from sugars. However, high biomass sorghum has the utility as a feedstock for cellulosic biofuels. The enhanced yield of monomeric carbohydrates is a key to cheap and efficient biofuel production. The efficiency of lignocellulosic biofuels is compromised by recalcitrance to cell wall digestion, a trait that cannot be efficiently improved by traditional breeding. Therefore, scientists are looking for solutions to such problems in biomass crop genomes. Sorghum genome has been completely sequenced and hence this crop qualifies for functional genomics analysis by fast forward genetic approaches. This chapter documents the latest efforts on advancement of sorghum for biomass potential at morphological and molecular level by exploiting genomics approaches.
Part of the book: Advances in Biofuels and Bioenergy