Good agricultural practices are an effective means of minimizing pre-harvest aflatoxin contamination in peanuts. A field experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of gypsum on pod yield and aflatoxin contamination in three peanut cultivars (Kadononga, MGV 4 and MGV 5) in Zambia. The experiment was conducted in Chongwe and Lusaka districts. Gypsum (15.6 % calcium) was applied at rates of 0 and 400 kg/ha at flowering stage. Although gypsum had no significant effect on aflatoxin contamination, there were significant differences (p = 0.009) in cultivar susceptibility to aflatoxin contamination. The cultivar with the smallest kernels had 18.8% lower aflatoxin content than the large-kernelled cultivar. Additionally, gypsum did not have a clear effect on pod yield. For instance, gypsum was associated with 44.8% more grain-filled pods in Kadononga (p = 0.005) at the site in Lusaka, but this result did not apply to the other two cultivars. At the site in Chongwe, gypsum was associated with 34.6% higher pod yield of MGV 5 only (p = 0.006). These results further suggest that plant factors such as kernel size may have an influence on natural resistance to aflatoxin contamination in peanuts.
Key words: Aflatoxin, gypsum, peanut cultivar, pod-yield, Zambia.
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