Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Entomology (MS)

Degree Level





Ashley Dowling

Committee Member

Griffiths Atungulu

Second Committee Member

Alejandro Rojas


Acarology;Entomology;Grain Storage;Mycology


Zea mays is the most commonly grown grain in the world and is used for animal feed, human consumption, and the creation of other products such as ethanol and bioplastics. Contamination of stored maize with stored grain invaders can lead to loss of revenue, reduced food availability, and potential health complications. Two such storage invaders; the mold mite Tyrophagus putrescentiae and the fungus Aspergillus flavus can work as symbionts within the grain storage system. To determine resulting population growth from this symbiosis, maize was inoculated with three treatments: A. flavus with no mites, T. putrescentiae with no fungus, and both organisms together. Treated maize samples were kept under stable humidity and temperature conditions and sampled over a 42-day period. Population numbers of A. flavus and T. putrescentiae were determined through qPCR and counting software, respectively. Treatments containing both organisms showed evidence of A. flavus and T. putrescentiae populations cycling together with complimenting population increases and decline. Treatments with just T. putrescentiae or just A. flavus showed a linear population growth.