Ergot is a disease of wild and cultivated species of grass throughout the world. Incidence is always very low and no threat is posed to production of grain or survival of natural grasslands. Ergot is a disease only of the flowers. When a grass blooms, the ovaries are attacked, and once the head matures, the seeds, or kernels, are replaced by larger, hard, purplish bodies of the pathogen called sclerotia (Fig. 28-1). The sclerotia are harvested along with the grain and contaminate animal feedstuffs and flour with poisonous alkaloids which cause sickness, abortion, and death. This is called ergotism. The extracted alkaloids are used as drugs to induce abortion and to control hemorrhage.
KeywordsPlant Pathology Longitudinal Section Susceptible Host Susceptible Plant Familiar Object
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.