The effects of grain storage containers on aflatoxin production, and the relationship between the level of aflatoxin and the number and weight of fluorescing kernels were determined in corn (Zea maize) stored in controlled climate regimes. Two hundred and forty 100-g samples were held up to 3 mos using four types of storage containers placed in four climates. Storage containers included corn placed in metal cans, paper bags, plastic bags, and paper bags placed in plastic bags. Climates were constant during the duration of the project and included a combination of temperatures and humidities. Temperatures were 29–32 C and 14–18 C; relative humidities were 85–88% and 35–40%. In addition, corn was exposed to environmental conditions conductive for aflatoxin production and 100 g samples were randomly collected, examined under ultraviolet light for fluorescence, and then quantified for aflatoxin levels. Corn samples tested negative for aflatoxin at the beginning of the project. Main (i.e., container, climate, and month) and interactive effects were not observed. Mean levels of aflatoxin ranged from 0 to 151 μg/kg. Aflatoxin was produced regardless of type of storage container, time of storage, and climatic conditions; however, only 8% of the samples produced aflatoxin levels that exceeded 50 μg/kg. Fluorescing corn ranged from 0 to 19 kernels per sample, while aflatoxin levels ranged from 0 to 1,375 μg/kg for the same samples. No relationships were found between the number and weight of fluorescing kernels of corn and aflatoxin levels. The black light test yielded a false negative rate of 23% when in fact the aflatoxin concentrations exceeded 50 μg/kg. Therefore, quantifying fluorescing grain under UV light should not be considered a feasible alternative for aflatoxin testing of grain intended for wildlife.
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Vol. 36 • No. 1