Fusarium and gibberella ear rot

graminearum, (syn. roseum) (Teleomorph: Giberella zeae)
Fusarium moniliforme (syn. Fusarium verticillioides) (Teleomorph: Gibberela fujikuroi)

Nature of damage

  • Ear infection begins as white mycelium moving down from the tip, which later turns reddish-pink, in infected kernels. The fungus produces mycotoxins—known as deoxynivalenol, zearalenone, and zearalenol—which are noxious to several animal species.
  • Damage from F. moniliforme occurs mainly on individual kernels or on limited areas of the ear.
  • The fungus produces mycotoxins known as fumonisins, which are harmful to several animal species.


  • Infected kernels develop a cottony growth or may develop white streaks on the pericarp and germinate on the cob.
  • Ears infested by earworms are usually infected with F. moniliforme.

Factors favoring development

  • Gibberella zeae, the sexual stage of the pathogen, is most common in cool and humid areas.
  • Gibberella ear rot is typically more prevalent where infected crop debris is allowed to overwinter.
  • The disease is commonly associated with injury to ears caused by borers.

Geographic distribution 

  • Occur widely throughout maize growing regions of the world.