Ustilago is a genus of approximately 200 smut fungi parasitic on grasses.[1]

Ustilago maydis de 2.jpg
Ustilago maydis (Corn smut)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Ustilaginomycetes
Order: Ustilaginales
Family: Ustilaginaceae
Genus: Ustilago
(Pers.) Roussel 1806
Type species
Ustilago hordei
(Pers.) Lagerh.


Ustilago maydis is eaten as a traditional Mexican food eaten in many parts of the country, and is even available canned. Farmers have even been known to spread the spores around on purpose to create more of the fungus. It is known in central Mexico by the Nahuatl name huitlacoche. Peasants in other parts of the country call it "hongo de maíz," i.e. "maize fungus."[2]

The genome of U. maydis has been sequenced.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Kirk MP, Cannon PF, Minter DW, Stalpers JA (2008). Dictionary of the Fungi (10th ed.). Wallingford: CABI. p. 718. ISBN 0-85199-826-7.
  2. ^ Laferrière, Joseph E. 1991. Mountain Pima ethnomycology. Journal of Ethnobiology 11(1):159-160.
  3. ^ Kämper J, Kahmann R, Bölker M, et al. (2006). "Insights from the genome of the biotrophic fungal plant pathogen Ustilago maydis". Nature. 444 (7115): 97–101. doi:10.1038/nature05248. PMID 17080091.

External linksEdit