Warming Boosts Deadly Fungus That Poisons Corn Crops, Causes Cancer

"A carcinogenic mold, its growth exacerbated by the warming climate, reached record highs in 2012."

"Last year’s drought increased the spread of a carcinogenic mold called aspergillus (Aspergillus flavus), a fungal pathogen that poisons cattle, kills pets and has infected the 2012 corn crop, rendering significant portions of the harvest unfit for consumption.

Whereas the deadly organism mainly affects countries like China and developing African nations, many U.S. states have experienced an increase in corn contamination since 2011. Farmers are likely to see more of the carcinogen as temperatures continue to rise and droughts become more frequent.

'It's really a climate variable issue,' says Barbara Stinson, founding and senior partner of Meridian Institute, a public policy organization. 'We're probably looking at an increase in aflatoxin as a result of that.'   "

Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato reports for Scientific American January 15, 2013.

Source: Scientific American, 01/16/2013