Aspergillus ear rot

Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus spp.

Nature of damage

  • Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus produce mycotoxins known as aflatoxins that are harmful to birds and mammals.

Signs

  • Several species of Aspergillus can infect maize in the field. Aspergillus niger is the most common; it produces black, powdery masses of spores that cover both kernels and cob.
  • In contrast, A. glaucus, A. flavus, and A. ochraceus normally form yellow-green masses of spores.
  • Aspergillus parasiticus is ivy green and less common in maize.

Factors favoring development

  • The disease may be a serious problem when infected ears are stored at high moisture contents.
  • Stressed and damaged plants may be more susceptible.

Geographical distribution

  • A. flavus is distributed worldwide but is more prevalent in tropical soils.

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