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New Method to Protect Peanuts From Carcinogenic Mold

Readers of this site know that peanuts are commonly contaminated with a carcinogenic mold known as aflatoxin. Now it appears that peanut farmers have a biological pesticide for protecting their crops from fungi that produce aflatoxin. Researchers made the biological treatment from spores of a nontoxigenic strain of Aspergillus flavus that is applied to barley kernels. The kernels are then applied to the soil beneath the plant canopy, where the fungus colonizes the barley and establishes itself to compete against toxigenic strains of A. flavus that are naturally present. Other strains of A. flavus, as well as A. parasiticus, are the primary producers of aflatoxin. Afla-Guard, in field trials, reduced aflatoxin typically 70 percent to 90 percent after the first application. Repeated applications in subsequent years reduced aflatoxin by as much as 98 percent.

For now, though, you can obtain Arrowhead Mills organic peanut butter, which is grown in an area where aflatoxin has not been reported to be a problem. The organic version of the peanut butter is also pesticide free. However, even without the aflatoxin there are two other important points you should know about peanuts:

  • They are loaded with omega-6 fats that distort the omega 3:6 ratio
  • Peanuts are one of the most pesticide-contaminated crops

A much better choice if you want to eat nuts are walnuts, as they will give you some beneficial omega-3.

Science Daily June 25, 2004

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