Aspergillus Ear Rot
About the Disease: Aspergillus Ear Rot, like any other ear rot disease is caused by fungus. It occurs in hot weather conditions.
Symptoms: There are three main pathogens that are causing the disease. The symptoms of the disease will differ according to the fungus that causes the disease. For instance, Aspergillus niger will be appearing in the form of a black mold. This grows in the kernel region.
In the case of A.flavus, it also appears in the kernel region, but in the form of green colored molds. Similarly, if the plant is infected by the fungus, A. glaucus, then it leads to the formation of green mold. Many scientists identify the causative agent, mainly by suing this differentiation.
Pathogen Involved: The major causative agent is Aspergillus flavus. Aspergillus glaucus and A. niger might also cause the disease in corn or wheat plants. The fungal spores are spread by the insects.
Time of Occurrence: the hot as well as dry condition is needed for the plants to get infected by the fungus. The damage caused by insects to the ear of the plants might also cause the disease.
Conditions Favoring Disease: When the condition of the weather is hot as well as dry, it favors the growth of A.flavus. Thus the corn plants in overcrowded and overwatered fields will be prone to the ear rot disease. Any injury caused to the plant due to a stressful condition, caused by the environment, can also lead to the progression of the disease. This disease is quite common in places like Indiana, where you can expect a hot climate. Drought or damages caused by insects can also cause the disease. When the content of moisture is more than 18 percent, then the growth of the fungus occurs in large amounts. In the case of A.flavus, the disease can cause drastic effects. IT is capable of releasing toxic substance called aflatoxin into the plant. This is a cancer causing substance, that might totally ruin the plant.
Disease Management: Managing a crop disease is not an easy thing. A proper planning and few important practices need to be followed. For instance, if you are growing corn in a large area, it is better to grow another non grass crop in the same area, after this harvest. This will give you less chance for the fungal growth from the older debris of corn plants. Plant stress needs to be reduced drastically. Irrigating the place and proper tillage can be of a little help.