A biological pesticide to protect peanut crops from the poisonous fungus aflatoxin has become available to farmers in the United States.

The pesticide called Afla-Guard was developed by scientists at the country's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and received the green light for immediate use from the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Afla-Guard reduces aflatoxin between 70% and 90% after the first application and as much as 98% in repeated applications.

Aflatoxin outbreaks occur when certain crops, such as peanuts and corn, are stressed by drought conditions. The treatment was made from spores of a non-toxic mould able to compete with aflatoxin fungus.