Exploring the Changes of Resistant Genes Expression in Groundnuts (Arachis Hypogea) In Response to Aspergillus Flavus Exposure at Seedling Stage

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International Journal of Research and Scientific Innovation (IJRSI) | Volume VII, Issue VII, July 2020 | ISSN 2321–2705

Exploring the Changes of Resistant Genes Expression in Groundnuts (Arachis Hypogea) In Response to Aspergillus Flavus Exposure at Seedling Stage

Robert O. Okayo1*, Darius O. Andika2, Mathews M. Dida3, George O. K’Otuto4 and Bernard M. Gichimu5
1,2Department of Plant, Animal and Food Sciences, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, Bondo, Kenya
3,4Department of Applied Sciences, Maseno University, Maseno, Kenya
5Department of Agricultural Resource Management, University of Embu, Embu, Kenya
*Corresponding Author

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Abstract: Aspergillus flavus infect groundnut seeds and produce secondary metabolites, aflatoxins. The aflatoxins are associated with various diseases in domestic animals and humans globally. Mitigating the aflatoxin contamination in crops through the development of cultivars tolerant to fungus colonization and aflatoxin contamination has been considered the most cost-effective measure. This research was conducted to ascertain that the resistance genes identified in the previous transcriptome analysis were involved in groundnut defense mechanisms to A. flavus infection. Eight genes were selected for additional scrutiny through the real time PCR on a groundnut seedling at an interval of 2 days within a 7-day period. The results indicate a network of gene expression patterns in a sequential order in both resistance and susceptible lines at a seedling stage. The peak expression level per gene indicates the time gene action was crucial. We conclude that these genes are involved in groundnut resistance to A. flavus infection and provide important targets for the molecular marker screening.

Key words:  Aspergillus flavus, groundnuts, Real Time PCR, gene expression, aflatoxin, seedling.


A Maize (Zea mays L.) and groundnut are the most important source for human exposure to aflatoxin (Nayak et al., 2017). In groundnuts, the infection occurs at the farm, during harvesting, drying, storage and transportation (Waliyar et al., 2015).  Globally, numerous initiatives have been undertaken to mitigate this problem. The development of resistant genotypes had been deemed a cost-effective and practical approach (Holbrook et al., 2010).spergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus are known to synthesize large quantity of aflatoxin that compromise the quality of wide range of agricultural produce. This has been regarded as a major drawback in attaining food security and a major concern to human and animal health (Andrade and Caldas, 2015). Aflatoxin B1 on groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) has been documented as a causative agent  of liver cancer (Nayak et al., 2017).