Aflatoxin contamination caused by Aspergillus fungi has been a serious factor affecting food safety of peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) because aflatoxins are highly harmful for human and animal health. As three mechanisms of resistance to aflatoxin in peanut including shell infection resistance, seed infection resistance and aflatoxin production resistance exist among naturally evolved germplasm stocks, it is highly crucial to pyramid these three resistances for promoting peanut industry development and protecting consumers’ health. However, less research effort has been made yet to investigate the differentiation and genetic relationship among the three resistances in diversified peanut germplasm collections.
In this study, the Chinese peanut mini-mini core collection selected from a large basic collection was systematically evaluated for the three resistances against A. flavus for the first time. The research revealed a wide variation among the diversified peanut accessions for all the three resistances. Totally, 14 resistant accessions were identified, including three with shell infection resistance, seven with seed infection resistance and five with aflatoxin production resistance. A special accession, Zh.h1312, was identified with both seed infection and aflatoxin production resistance. Among the five botanic types of A. hypogaea, the var. vulgaris (Spanish type) belonging to subspecies fastigiata is the only one which possessed all the three resistances. There was no close correlation between shell infection resistance and other two resistances, while there was a significant positive correlation between seed infection and toxin production resistance. All the three resistances had a significant negative correlation with pod or seed size. A total of 16 SNPs/InDels associated with the three resistances were identified through genome-wide association study (GWAS). Through comparative analysis, Zh.h1312 with seed infection resistance and aflatoxin production resistance was also revealed to possess all the resistance alleles of associated loci for seed infection index and aflatoxin content.
This study provided the first comprehensive understanding of differentiation of aflatoxin resistance in diversified peanut germplasm collection, and would further contribute to the genetic enhancement for resistance to aflatoxin contamination.