Biotech Updates

Publication Helps Corn Farmers Deal with Aspergillus Ear Rot

April 20, 2011

Purdue University Extension plant pathologist Charles Woloshuk has published a three-page report on Diseases of Corn: Aspergillus Ear Rot to address inquiries on the most important and challenging disease of corn. Aspergillus produces a deadly mycotoxin known as aflatoxin that affects the liver and suppresses the immune systems of livestock and man, leading to weight loss, cancer or death.

Currently, there is no commercial corn hybrid that is resistant to the disease. Several recommendations to address the disease were suggested, including reduction of stress (drought, nutrition, temperature) in the corn plant to resist the pathogen. The author also provided information on the US Department of Agriculture's action levels or regulations based on the amount of aflatoxin present and the grain's end use.

"Accurate mold identification is critical for making the right feeding and management decisions, so producers should confirm any mold identification at a diagnostic laboratory," Woloshuk said. The Purdue Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory ( offers mycotoxin testing.

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