A comparison of the invasion of flowers, aerial pegs, and kernels by wild-type and mutant strains of Aspergillus flavus or A. parasiticus along with aflatoxin analyses of kernels from different drought treatments have supported the hypothesis that preharvest contamination with aflatoxin originates mainly from the soil. Evidence in support of soil invasion as opposed to aerial invasion was the following. A greater percentage of invasion of kernels rather than flower or aerial pegs by either wild-type A. flavus or mutants. Significant invasion by an A. parasiticus color mutant occurred only in peanuts from soil supplemented with the mutant, whereas adjacent plants in close proximity but in untreated soil were only invaded by wild-type A. flavus or A. parasiticus. Aflatoxin data from drought-stressed, visibly undamaged peanut kernels showed that samples from soil not supplemented with a mutant strain contained a preponderance of aflatoxin B's (from wild-type A. flavus) whereas adjacent samples from mutant-supplemented soil contained a preponderance of B's plus G's (from wild-type and mutant A. parasiticus). Preliminary data from two air samplings showed an absence of propagules of A. flavus or A. parasiticus in air around the experimental facility
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