DALLAS — Karnal Bunt, a wheat fungus that caused the U.S. Department of Agriculture to quarantine two wheat fields in West Texas, was not found in screening tests conducted at the Texas A&M laboratory in Dallas.
This means Texas-produced wheat seed is free of the smelly fungus. The pathogen, Tilletia indica, presents no health hazard but affects the odor, color and palatability of flour and foods made from it.
“All pre-harvest, post-harvest and seed holdbacks from the two quarantine areas in Texas tested negative,” said George Nash, state operational officer for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in Austin. “And more than 700 samples from elevators and seed from around the state also showed no sign of the fungus.”
El Paso and Hudspeth counties were placed under quarantine in April when the fungus was confirmed in 500 acres owned by two producers and traced to infected seed from the original Arizona supply.
According to David Marshall, Texas A&M wheat researcher and director of the Dallas screening lab which handled all the Texas samples, “This confirms it. No Texas-produced wheat has been found to have the fungus.”
Several New Mexico counties and large portions of Arizona also were placed under quarantine last spring because of this fungus.