Karnal Bunt (Tilletia indica)

Agricultural Disaster Preparedness and Recovery November 04, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF

Karnal bunt is a fungal disease that affects the kernel of wheat and triticale. Climatic conditions play an important role in appearance of the disease. It occurs only when weather is cool and wet at the time wheat is flowering. Infection spreads primarily through infected seed. Karnal bunt was first discovered near the city of Karnal, in northern India, in 1931. In India, infected seed is planted throughout the country, but the disease occurs only in locations with a suitable climate. In the United States, Karnal bunt is under eradication in Arizona. Based on annual surveys, it is not known to currently occur in other states.


The disease can be managed by using clean seed. Karnal bunt does not cause significant yield loss. However, its appearance in wheat has serious economic consequences for exporters.


Additional information about Karnal bunt, including FAQs, can be found at:

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.