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Corn ear rots and mycotoxins

Aspergillus ear rot and Fusarium ear rot are of greatest concern in Minnesota because they can produce mycotoxins. These toxins can cause serious health problems in both humans and animals if they eat contaminated food or feed.

Grain must be tested to determine if mycotoxins are present.

Aspergillus ear rot and Fusarium ear rot are favored by hot, dry conditions.

Other ear rots occur in Minnesota, but they are often favored by wet conditions and have not produced mycotoxins.

Several different types of ear rots occur in Minnesota. Ear rots are important because they can decrease yield and significantly reduce grain quality.

Aspergillus ear rot and Fusarium ear rot are of greatest concern because they produce mycotoxins. These ear rots are favored by hot and dry conditions.

Aspergillus ear rot

Aspergillus ear rot can produce aflatoxin, a potent mycotoxin that is toxic to animals and humans.

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Fusarium ear rot

Fusarium ear rot is another problem favored by hot and dry weather, especially if it occurs at flowering. Ears damaged by hail, insects or other factors are more susceptible to this ear rot.

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Other corn ear rots

Other types of corn ear rots occur in Minnesota. They are less concerning than Aspergillus and Fusarium ear rots because they haven’t been associated with mycotoxin production.

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Dean Malvick, Extension plant pathologist

Reviewed in 2018

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