“It’s a huitlacoche, it’s a bluish black fungus of corn.” With those words, Dabiz Munoz began wreaking havoc in a controversial video recently uploaded to his Instagram profile. In it, a famous culinary juggler spoke about his tasting experience terrible looking product and certainly unknown to the public main stream. At least outside of Mexico, because it turns out that inside the spicy-loving country, this product is highly valued.

We are talking about huitlacoche, a product obtained as a result of infection with a fungus. Ustilago maidis in corn. It is curious that this fungus is considered a plague in almost all countries of the world, with the exception of Mexico.

In this region, their compatriots they try it with great skill from time immemorial. It is also said that this product served the indigenous people of yesteryear as food during long periods of famine.

fungal infection Ustilago maidis

It is now not uncommon to find huitlacoche in Mexican restaurants around the world as part of the toppings for epic Mexican dishes such as quesadillas or tacos. In addition, huitlacoche has also become a quality ingredient in recent years. for the most famous chefs, being an integral element of the highest cuisine. Dabiz Munoz couldn’t resist her mushroom spell.

Whether you knew the huitlacoche or not, the truth is that it is indisputable that his appearance is extremely disgusting. It definitely doesn’t get through the eyes, because. Ustilago maidis It is responsible for penetrating the bottom of the cereal, causing it to deform by suddenly appearing swollen galls or tumors where the corn kernels used to be. Therefore, for ordinary corn growers, the presence of this pest is a real annoyance, as it can infect the entire crop in no time, ruining it. In the agricultural environment, this pest is known under the names “corn smut”, “common smut” or “late blight”.

Is it dangerous for your health to eat corn infected with a fungus?

The million dollar question, of course, is whether this grotesque looking product is edible. Can we really eat food contaminated with fungi like huitlacoche without endangering our health? A quick response is not a problem, but there are nuances to this. The first, Ustilago maidis it is not a mycotoxin-producing fungus. It means that does not emit dangerous toxins for health, like other mushrooms. In particular, the species of fungi involved in the formation of mycotoxins are fungi, microscopic fungi, which belong to the subsection Ascomicota. Here we already find a clear division, since Ustilago maidis – the aforementioned Dabiz Munoz corn fungus – is not a mold, but falls under the category Basidiomycotawell differentiated within the kingdom mushrooms which gives shelter to all these types of mushrooms.

However, the fact that it is a “sick” corn may more likely lead to the presence of other molds that are pathogens and mycotoxin producers. And here’s the problem. These mycotoxins are not turkey mucus as their consumption is associated with damage to the liver, kidneys and the appearance of various types of cancer. In addition, once mycotoxins have formed, they are very difficult to eliminate because they are resistant to high temperatures. come on what the heat of your frying pan definitely doesn’t scare them.

Thus, prevention is always promoted in the food industry: that is, the prevention of mycotoxins in alarming quantities. This is usually done with foods that are susceptible to the formation of mycotoxins, such as spices, nuts, grains and seeds. That is, dry foods that can hold some moisture during storage are the perfect environment for mold to feel at home. In this sense, corn is an ideal food for mycotoxin-producing molds. That’s why we have to keep a close eye on it.

Although Ustilago maidis this is not a dangerous fungus, yes, others can appear in corn. Much more if we are talking about food that is technically in a state of deep spoilage. In this sense, various studies in the field of agricultural science recommend storing huitlacoche at a refrigerated temperature of about 3ºC and at high relative humidity, above 95%.

Don’t eat raw, Dabiz Munoz.

So Dabiz Munoz didn’t mess anything up? Although the huitlacoche was saved from burning, the truth is that Dabiz Munoz’s consumption recommendations left a lot to be desired. The cook ate the huitlacoche raw, raw, straight from the cob. With all the information we’ve just discussed about pathogens, you can get an idea of ​​just how risky this idea is. Real irresponsibility Whereas, this is a food professional, at least in cooking. In general, it is thoughtlessly dangerous to recommend a raw food diet. Of course, there are exceptions, such as fish used to make sushi, but even these must meet some minimum cooking requirements.

The problem is no longer just fungi or mycotoxins, but food grown in soil can contain other pathogens such as coli or salmonella for example, among many others. Trust me, you don’t want them on your plate. Eating food straight from Mother Earth is a bad idea, even Chayanne wouldn’t do it.

In conclusion, despite the disgust this contaminated corn can cause, the truth is that huitlacoche is quite edible. In fact, you have probably tried it in more than one Mexican restaurant. Recall that some cheeses, such as Roquefort or Camembert, already use non-pathogenic fungi in the production process, so do not be afraid. However, this does not mean that Dabiz Munoz’s recommendations on food safety are conspicuous by their absence.

If you consume huitlacoche, be sure to cook it first.. And be very careful when consuming it in street stalls where we have no food hygiene guarantees – this recommendation is valid for any food. Finally, let’s not judge corn by its appearance. This is terrible. Although, well, corn is uglier. Sometimes we get surprises, but don’t forget that huitlacoche is the exception that proves the rule: don’t put cooked or spoiled food in your mouth.

Source: Hiper Textual

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