Pataky JK, Snetselaar KM
Common smut of corn (Syn. boil smut, blister smut)
The Plant Health Instuctor
Common smut of corn, caused by Ustilago maydis, is easily identified by tumor-like galls that form on actively growing host tissues and contain masses of dark, sooty teliospores. Throughout most of the world, common smut is considered to be a troublesome disease of corn, but in central Mexico, galls on ears of corn are considered an edible delicacy known as cuitlacoche (Syn. huitlacoche). In addition to the practical significance of causing a prevalent disease and being an edible fungus, U. maydis also has been used as a model organism to study a variety of interesting biological phenomena.