Soybean lines lacking lipoxygenase (LOX) activity were compared with soybean lines having LOX activity for the ability to support growth and aflatoxin B1 production by the fungal seed pathogen Aspergillus flavus. Whole seeds, broken seeds, and heat-treated (autoclaved) whole seeds were compared. Broken seeds, irrespective of LOX presence, supported excellent fungal growth and the highest aflatoxin levels. Autoclaved whole seeds, with or without LOX, produced good fungal growth and aflatoxin levels approaching those of broken seeds. Whole soybean seeds supported sparse fungal growth and relatively low aflatoxin levels. There was no significant difference in aflatoxin production between whole soybean seeds either with or without LOX, although there did seem to be differences among the cultivars tested. The heat treatment eliminated LOX activity (in LOX+ lines), yet aflatoxin levels did not change substantially from the broken seed treatment. Broken soybean seeds possessed LOX activity (in LOX+ lines) and yet yielded the highest aflatoxin levels. The presence of active LOX did not seem to play the determinant role in the susceptibility of soybean seeds to fungal pathogens. Seed coat integrity and seed viability seem to be more important characteristics in soybean seed resistance to aflatoxin contamination. Soybean seeds lacking LOX seem safe from the threat of increased seed pathogen susceptibility.

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