moldy corn

For as long as humans have been growing food crops, pests and pathogens have been attacking them. Despite the numerous pesticides that have been developed to combat pests and pathogens, they somehow adapt and become immune. For one fungal pathogen, scientists in the United Kingdom have figured out a way to use its own biology to prevent it from destroying crops.

Aspergillus fungi are a group of molds that can wreak havoc in a variety of environments, including agriculture. Interested in finding ways to prevent Aspergillus from reproducing in clinical settings, scientists at the University of Bath conducted a study on Aspergillus nidulans, a food mold that closely mimics an Aspergillus species that is problematic to immunocompromised individuals. The researchers determined that the mechanisms through which Aspergillus nidulans reproduces—G-protein coupled receptors—require specific conditions to allow reproduction and toxin production: food and lighting. In essence, without sugar and darkness, the G-protein coupled receptors of Aspergillus nidulans refuse to reproduce sexually.

Aspergillus fungi reproduce sexually by producing spores and exchanging them with each other, creating hearty, genetically diverse offspring that have a much better chance of acclimating to new environments and evolving to resist antifungal efforts. Aspergillus fungi can also produce asexually, but asexually produced spores are not as successful at adapting to antifungal methods.

The study’s scientists believe their findings will have positive implications for improving crop development and agricultural antifungal compounds as well as clinical research.

More from IFTNEXT right arrow

A new approach to reducing salt while maintaining taste

The dangers of a high-sodium diet have been well documented, but a new technology devised by scientists from Washington State University could help reduce sodium in processed foods while retaining taste and texture.

Sucralose–carbohydrate combo may affect insulin sensitivity

A study found that people who drank beverages that contained the low-calorie sweetener sucralose did experience metabolic problems and issues with neural responses but only when the beverage was formulated with both sucralose and a tasteless sugar (maltodextrin).

Manipulating photosynthesis for food security

British scientists have gained new insights into the compound in plants that plays a vital role in the natural process through which plants grow.

New rapid tests for botulinum toxin

In the food industry, botulinum toxin is associated with a severe form of food poisoning caused by improperly preserved food. Researchers have developed a technology that addresses the role of botulinum toxin in both food and cosmetic applications.

More from IFT right arrow

Home Cooking During COVID-19

With the commencement of stay-at-home orders, 88% of consumers are preparing more meals at home. Here’s a look at their habits.

Robot chef prepares tasty omelet; Transforming the food chain

News about food science research, food companies, food regulations, and consumer/marketplace trends.

Immunity on the Mind

Kerry Global Consumer Survey – Digestive & Immune Health, 2019

A Bountiful Array of Beneficial Ingredients

A round-up of innovative nutraceutical products available from suppliers.

Improving Spinach Juice Safety and Quality; Child Food Insecurity to Rise Due to COVID-19

News about food science research, food companies, food regulations, and consumer/marketplace trends.

Latest News right arrow

Targeted taxes, school lunch policies may benefit low-income populations

Targeted taxes on sweetened beverages and policies that strengthen nutritional standards for meals and beverages at schools may be effective tools for decreasing the purchase of sweetened drinks and reducing obesity among children living in poverty, according to two studies.

FAO predicts a global shortage of protein-rich foods

According to the Cornell Alliance for Science, a new report out from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations predicts there will be a global shortage of protein-rich foods this year due to COVID-19 and other factors.

How consumers think about dietary fats and oils

According to a new survey of 1,000 American adults conducted by the International Food Information Council (IFIC), change in healthfulness perceptions of dietary fats is mixed.

Preventing the next pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, a new report warns that further outbreaks will emerge unless governments take active measures to prevent other zoonotic diseases from crossing into the human population and sets out recommendations to prevent future pandemics.

Bunge Loders Croklaan to open Creative Studio in Turkey

As part of its focus on Turkey, the Middle East, and North Africa, Bunge Loders Croklaan (BLC), a leader in edible oils and fats, is expanding its worldwide innovation network with its first Creative Studio in the region.