Fungus to Rescue Pistacchio

Research conducted over the past 11 years at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier will help ensure the safety of California’s $1.16 billion pistachio crop. This summer, for the first time, a beneficial fungus is being used in San Joaquin Valley pistachio orchards to protect the pistachio nuts from aflatoxin contamination. Aflatoxin can form on a wide variety of crops, from corn to cotton to tree nuts. Careful management practices help keep levels low, but still hundreds of thousands of pounds of pistachios are rejected each year due to the presence of aflatoxin.

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