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GRI Researchers Promoted

April 9, 2013

Congratulations to Drs. Haibo Yao and Zuzana Hruska on their promotion to Associate Research Professor. Both are located at the MSU Science and Technology Center at Stennis Space Center, doing research on the detection of alfatoxins in corn.

Here is a summary of Drs. Yao and Hruska's ongoing research: Instrument Development for Rapid and Non-Invasive Aflatoxin Detection in Corn

The ability to detect aflatoxin in a rapid, non-invasive way is crucial to the grain industry, particularly to the corn industry. Aflatoxin contaminated corn is toxic to domestic animals when ingested in feed and is a known carcinogen associated with liver and lung cancer in humans. Current aflatoxin detection and quantification methods are based on analytical tests. These analytical tests require the destruction of samples and can be costly and time consuming. Hyperspectral imaging technology offers a novel non-invasive approach toward screening for toxigenic fungi and the presence of toxins associated with them by identifying a given specimen based on its spectral signature. Previous experiments have determined that additional spectral information about aflatoxin-producing fungus as well as the presence or absence of the toxin may be gained from combining hyperspectral imaging with UV excitation, where the resulting fluorescent image reveals more information than the reflected image. The present study reports recent results regarding the development of near real-time, non-invasive instruments that implement fluorescence hyperspectral imaging technology for aflatoxin detection in corn inoculated with aflatoxin-producing strain of Aspergillus flavus.