Skip Navigation

Black Mold on Corn

By Alison Robertson, Department of Plant Pathology

There have been several reports of a black mold covering the leaves and stalks of corn plants across the state. Walking in these fields turn a white shirt black quickly. Not surprisingly, combining this blackened corn is also very dirty. 

The black mold is saprophytic fungi – microorganisms that feed on dead plant material. The wet weather over the weekend followed by warm, humid weather and morning dews have favored growth of these organisms. They are not known to produce toxins, and the harvested grain should look relatively clean.

Individuals with allergies or respiratory problems are encouraged to wear dust masks to reduce breathing in masses of spores. These saprophytic fungi are a big contributor to the mold portion of the pollen and mold counts. It is also important to keep combine engines and can filters clean.

 

Alison Robertson is an assistant professor of plant pathology with research and extension responsibilities in field crop diseases. She can be reached at 515-294-6708 or e-mail alisonr@iastate.edu.

 


This article was published originally on 8/29/2012 The information contained within the article may or may not be up to date depending on when you are accessing the information.


Links to this material are strongly encouraged. This article may be republished without further permission if it is published as written and includes credit to the author, Integrated Crop Management News and Iowa State University Extension. Prior permission from the author is required if this article is republished in any other manner.