Mycologia (2003) 95, 1261-1270

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Jerald K. Pataky and Michael A. Chandler (2003)
Production of huitlacoche, Ustilago maydis: timing inoculation and controlling pollination
Mycologia 95 (6), 1261-1270
Abstract: Huitlacoche is the name given to young, fleshy, edible galls that form when ears of Zea mays are infected by Ustilago maydis. Huitlacoche is processed and sold fresh at markets in Mexico. Interest has increased recently in producing U. maydis as a specialty mushroom in the United States. Silk-channel inoculation methods developed to evaluate common smut resistance in maize can be used to produce huitlacoche commercially. This research assessed the effects of time of inoculation and preventing pollination on the severity of ear galls and yield of huitlacoche produced by inoculating silks with U. maydis. Yield of huitlacoche and severity of ear galls were closely related, as was evident from highly significant linear or curvilinear regressions. Severity and yield were greatest when ears were inoculated 4-8 d after the mid-silk growth stage. Ear galls were 5-15% more severe and yield of huitlacoche was 18-150% greater on ears that were not pollinated, compared to those that were pollinated. Maximum yield of huitlacoche was 131 g ear−1 from unpollinated male-sterile field corn inoculated 6 d after the mid-silk growth stage and 92 g ear−1 from detasseled sweet corn inoculated 6 d after mid-silk. About 25% of the total weight of ears consisted of marketable huitlacoche when yields were highest. Quality of huitlacoche was not affected by time of inoculation or pollination treatments, but quality of huitlacoche harvested 12-14 d after inoculation was unacceptable primarily due to lack of teliospores, which affected color and flavor.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Database assignments for author(s): Jerald K. Pataky

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
general biology - morphology - evolution

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Mycosarcoma maydis Maize/corn (Zea mays) Mexico