“Corn kernels seem to start to develop after pollination but are empty of content. Affected kernels appeared to contain only clear liquid with perhaps a small amount of white material–probably starch–that may later turn yellow.” (Nafziger, 2010). The liquid in these “bubbles” eventually dries up, leaving what are essentially seed coats without an embryo or endosperm. These may flatten as kernels on both sides press in during grainfill, if there are only a few, scattered “bubble kernels” on an ear.
May be associated with late glyphosate applications.
In recent years, there have been reports that pretassel applications of various pesticides and surfactants, especially non-ionic surfactants, may result in arrested ear development and poor kernel set. In a 2009 Ohio FSR evaluation conducted by Ohio State Extension educators Harold Watters and Jonah Johnson, ears with “jumbled” kernels resulted from applications of herbicides and various adjuvants at early tassel. Kernel jumbling was particularly severe in the glyphosate+AMS+NIS treatment. Shriveled, aborted kernels scattered throughout ears promoted the jumbled kernel appearance.
Avoid foliar application of surfactants at the VT stage.
Nafziger, E., 2010. “Bubble Kernel” in Corn. Available at: http://bulletin.ipm.illinois.edu/article.php?id=1387 [URL verified 1/16/2019]. Univ. of Illinois, Urbana.
Thomison, P., Curious Kernels in Corn. Ohio State University C.O.R.N. Newsletter 2010-23 (July 27-August 3, 2010). Available at: https://agcrops.osu.edu/newsletters/2010/23#4 [URL verified 1/16/2019].
Nielsen, R.L. , P. Sellers, and G. Ruhl. 1999. Translucent Kernel Syndrome. Available at http://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news/articles.99/990903.html [URL verified 1/16/2019].