Sanitation Fights Mycotoxin Infections

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

In nature, there are fungal metabolites called mycotoxins, and some of them can infect crops. However, certain cultural practices can eliminate them. California Ag Today recently spoke with Bob Klein, manager of the California Pistachio Research Board, based in Fresno, about the topic.

“We see mycotoxins as a result of fungal infection that comes from the Navel Orange Worm. It is damaged predominantly, and if a crop is contaminated with possible mycotoxins, such as one known as Aflatoxn, it can hurt exports. Over 70 percent of our crop is exported, and some of our major markets are very sensitive to a mycotoxin contamination,” Klein said.

“The best programs start with orchard sanitation. Many growers are lax on sanitation or spend low amounts of money,” he explained. “Those who are frugal are spending $200-250 an acre on sanitation, and so growers need to be prepared for that.”

As far as insecticide applications, look at the growers’ data, not what is published in replicated field trials.

“More sprays are better than fewer sprays,” Klein said.