, Volume 86, Issue 1, pp 51-54

Effect of soil temperature and drought on peanut pod and stem temperatures relative to Aspergillus flavus invasion and aflatoxin contamination

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Peanut stem and pod temperatures of plants growing in irrigated, drought, drought-heated soil, and drought-cooled soil treatments were determined near the end of the growing season. Mean soil temperatures of the treatments during this period were 21.5°, 25.5°, 30° and 20 °C, respectively. Peanut stem temperatures in all drought treatments reached a maximum of ca. 40 °C and for 6–7 h each day were as much as 10 °C warmer than irrigated peanut stems. Pod temperatures in drought-heated soil and drought treatments were ca. 34 °C and 30 °C, respectively, for several hours each day. As pod temperatures approached the optimum for A. flavus growth (ca. 35 °C), the proportion of kernels colonized and aflatoxin concentrations increased. Increased plant temperature without accompanying pod temperature increases (drought-cooled soil) resulted in colonization percentages and aflatoxin concentrations only slightly higher than those of the irrigated peanuts.