Farming a pathogen?

Normally corn smut is a nuisance in corn fields in the America and Canada, but one Canadian researcher is looking to farm the fungus itself and sell it as a specialty food. This fungus, Ustilago maydis, is called corn smut in the united states. However, in Mexico it is called huitlacoche and is eaten as a specialty food.

Dr. Barry Saville of Trent university wants to bring huitlacoche to Canada, calling it a “corn truffle cob”, and marketing it as a “foodie novelty” to restaurants. He has begun research to find the best fungal strains and best corn hosts that results in the best taste.

Saville also partnered with a culinary program at a local college to develop recipes and evaluate his “corn cob truffles” he is producing. Taste tests were offered at a local market and were received very well.

Exciting news for more fungi-based food products on the market, and makes us re-think how we see some pathogens!

Bright Idea: Delectable corn fungus

12.06.16

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