[USDA-NRCS] Demonstration of Model using Cover Crops to Improve Soil Health and Reduce Crop Stress and Aflatoxin Contamination

Amount: $75,000
Duration: 01/2016 – 12/2018
PI: Gabriel Terejanu
Co-PIs: Sourav Banerjee, Anindya Chanda, Robin Kloot

Abstract

The goal of this proposal is to deploy a sensor network to collect environmental data from a cornfield in collaboration with a local farmer. The data will be used to develop and demonstrate a predictive framework for calculating aflatoxin occurrence in South Carolina cornfields prior to harvest.

Aflatoxin is a carcinogenic toxin naturally produced by Aspergillus family of fungi (flavus, parasiticus) occurring in soil and decaying vegetation, which can contaminate corn along with other relevant South Carolina crops like peanuts and cotton before harvest and/or during storage. It is well know that aflatoxin exposure causes one of the deadliest cancers worldwide, namely liver cancer in humans and a variety of animal species. Prediction and control of aflatoxin contaminations before harvest are a fundamental challenge for US grain industry, poultry producers, and makers of dairy products. The predictive model will be used to continuously monitor the aflatoxin incidence in cornfields and provide the farmers with actionable information regarding the best time to harvest and efficient isolation of contaminated areas, as well as testing the role of cover crops and irrigation in plant stress regulation and aflatoxin contamination.

Team Members

Gabriel Terejanu : Associate Professor
Gabriel Terejanu
Associate Professor
Computer Science
UNCC
Sourav Banerjee : Associate Professor
Sourav Banerjee
Associate Professor
Mechanical
Engineering
UofSC
Anindya Chanda : Assistant Professor
Anindya Chanda
Assistant Professor
Environmental
Health Sciences
UofSC
Robin Kloot : Research Assoc. Prof.
Robin Kloot
Research Assoc. Prof.
Environmental
Health Sciences
UofSC