, Volume 105, Issue 2, pp 117–128

Interrelationship of kernel water activity, soil temperature, maturity, and phytoalexin production in preharvest aflatoxin contamination of drought-stressed peanuts


  • Joe W. Dorner
    • National Peanut Research LaboratoryUSDA, ARS
  • Richard J. Cole
    • National Peanut Research LaboratoryUSDA, ARS
  • Timothy H. Sanders
    • National Peanut Research LaboratoryUSDA, ARS
  • Paul D. Blankenship
    • National Peanut Research LaboratoryUSDA, ARS

DOI: 10.1007/BF00444034

Cite this article as:
Dorner, J.W., Cole, R.J., Sanders, T.H. et al. Mycopathologia (1989) 105: 117. doi:10.1007/BF00444034


Samples of Florunner peanuts were collected throughout a period of late-season drought stress with mean geocarposphere temperatures of 29 and 25 °C, and determinations of maturity, kernel water activity (aw), percent moisture, capacity for phytoalexin production, and aflatoxin contamination were made. Results showed an association between the loss of the capacity of kernels to produce phytoalexins and the appearance of aflatoxin contamination. Kernel aw appeared to be the most important factor controlling the capacity of kernels to produce phytoalexins. Mature peanuts possessed additional resistance to contamination that could not be attributed solely to phytoalexin production. Kernel moisture loss was accelerated in the 29 °C treatment compared to the 25 °C treatment, and data indicated that the higher soil temperature also favored growth and aflatoxin production by Aspergillus flavus in peanuts susceptible to contamination.

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989