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Are the tumor-like galls caused by boil smut in maize harmful?19 April 2016

Boil Smut (Common Smut) of maize has been fairly common this season, especially in the western production areas of South Africa. The development of boil smut is favoured by hot, dry conditions that result in poor pollination. The spores that survive in the soil and crop residues infect the silks where pollen is not always present and develop to form tumor-like galls on the cob.

The galls are not poisonous, they belong to the mushroom family and are harmless to humans and animals. In fact, in Mexico they are considered an edible mushroom-like delicacy. However, exercise caution if secondary cob infections are suspected, as they may not be safe for humans or animals.

 

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