Though fungal infections can affect crops in many ways, some good but way more often than not very bad. The following is just one way, though a common one, of how a fungus infection – specifically, about the fungal plant pathogen Fusarium graminearum, which affects what and barley crops and can render them unusable – can devastate crops.
This fungus – that causes Fusarium head blight – is a serious pathogen of wheat and barley. Its presence can reduce grain yields, and taints grain with mycotoxins that have been found to be detrimental to human and animal health. Head blight outbreaks in the 1990s cost US agriculture $3 billion.
F. graminearum is also a pox to beer producers. Malting creates a fungus friendly environment, and barley infected with the fungus produces beer with a vast excess of foam. As a result, the malting barley industry has a zero tolerance to this fungus.
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