Ustilago nuda f.sp. hordei

Loose smut of barley

General

Ustilago nuda f.sp. hordei affects barley and can destroy a large proportion of the crop. It is also known as barley smut, or loose smut of barley.

Life cycle and appearance of Loose smut of barley

The seeds are infected during flowering and the infected seeds are the primary source of inoculum in the next crop. The fungus survives inside the seed and when the seed germinates, the mycelium of the fungus grows upwards inside the plant into the growing tip and the seed primordia. It only becomes visible after head emergence. The teliospores that are formed on systemically infected seeds then infect neighbouring new seeds. They germinate within a day and infect the inner tissues of the newly infected seed. During maturation of the seed, the mycelium becomes thick-walled and swollen as a dormant survival structure.

Infection mostly occurs before pollination and within one to two days after pollination.

How to prevent Loose smut of barley