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Biology, identication andmanagement of cereal smutdiseases
January 2011replaces Farmnote 27/87
Cereal smut and bunt diseases are caused byungi which parasitise the host plant and producemasses o soot-like spores in the leaves, grainsor ears. These ungi are important pathogenso cereal crops, reducing yield and quality oharvested grain. In many cases grain receivalpoints have low or zero tolerance o smutcontaminated grain.The major Western Australian cereal crops, wheat,barley and oats, are susceptible to a range o smutand bunt diseases. Generally, smut diseases arehost specifc, meaning that smut o one cerealcrop will not inect others (or example, loose smuto wheat does not inect barley or oats).Smut diseases have one o two distinct lie cycles:internally seed-borne or externally seed-borne.It is important to know the type o smut and itslie cycle in order to determine eective controloptions.
Internally seed-borne smut diseases
Loose smut o barley and wheat are internallyseed-borne and carried as a small colony oungus inside the seed embryo rather than asspores on the seed coat. These are the onlyinternally seed-borne smuts that occur in Australian cereal crops. Contaminated machineryand soil do not transmit these diseases.
Loose smut of wheat and barley
Loose smut o barley (
) and wheat(
) are caused by dierent ungalspecies specifc to the crop they inect, however
By Geoff Thomas, Dominie Wright, Ciara Beard and Kith Jayasena, Plant Pathologists
Figure 1 Loose smut of barley. (A) Infected head laden with spores (note the spores are uncontained by the head unlike covered smut). (B) Infected head after releasing spores onto adjacent healthy heads.