Damage, Weight Loss and Aspergillussection Flavi Infection in Stored Maize GrainsinShumar Gewog, Pemagatshel

Author(s): Tshewang Dendup

Maize is grown as the staple food crop in Eastern Bhutan;however, the post-harvest practices are worrisome. The maize cobs are being heaped in the open field or in the house for days when there islabour shortage,leadingto the fungal infection. Moreover, de-husked maize is stored in sacks after partial sun drying,favoring fun-gal growth. This study examined the incidence of AspergillussectionFlaviand also assessed grain damage and weight loss due to insect pests. 60 maize samples were collected from Nangkor, Shumar, Shali and Gamung villages under Shumar Gewog,covering low and mid altitudes maize production zones. Aspergillusfungi were isolated using Subaroaud Dextrose Agar and pure cultures of isolates were obtained with differential mediato identify Aspergillussection Flavi. Based on their morphological characteristics, Aspergillussection Flavi was found to be predominant with 63.6% of Aspergillusfungi isolated. The rest of the isolates constitute unidentified sections of Aspergillusfungi. Insect pests belonging to genera Sitophilus, Tribolium, Carpophilusand Sitotrogawere observed. Mean percentage of bored kernels and weight loss were 49.9% and 8.9% respectively. Therefore, good post-harvest practices need to be in place for the farmers to reduce grain losses,and concentration of mycotoxin in the maize needs to be assessed to ensure health safety.


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