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Scientists Discover Yeast That Might Protect Nut Trees, Other Crops From Toxins

January 27, 2010: 01:43 PM EST
A yeast called Pichia anomala competes successfully for nutrients and growing space with an unwanted mold, Aspergillus flavus. That fact, U.S. researchers have found, means that pistachios, almonds and other popular tree nuts might someday be routinely sprayed with the yeast to control A. flavus and some other aspergillus species that produce troublesome toxins known collectively as aflatoxins that can ruin a food’s taste, texture, yield, safety, etc. The yeast may also protect against other microbes including, for example, Botrytis cinerea, which causes gray mold of table grapes.
Sui-Sheng (Sylvia) Hua, "Helpful Yeast Battles Food Contaminating Aflatoxin", Agricultural Research Service (USDA) press release, January 27, 2010, © USDA, Office of Research, Education, and Economics
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