This image shows the diagnostic symptoms and signs of sugarcane smut. The black whiplike structure, emerging from the central core of meristematic tissues, contains dark-colored smut spores covered with a thin, silvery-white and papery membrane (clearly visible in the image). This membrane ruptures easily, and spores are spread by wind. Therefore, careful removal of infected plants, after first covering the whip with a wet polyethylene bag, will help prevent secondary spread of the disease.
Contributed by Ved Prakash Gupta Agricultural Research Station, Ummedganj, Kaithoon Road P.O.Box # 7, G.P.O. Nayapura, Kota-324001 (Rajasthan), INDIA
Host: Sugar cane, Saccharum hybrids Disease name: Smut of sugarcanePathogen name: Ustilago scitaminea Syd. & P. Syd.The best control method is to use resistant cultivars which are widely available in different countries where sugarcane is grown. Local sugarcane research centers should be consulted for the specific cultivar recommendations that are best adapted to where they are to be grown. Smut spores survive for long periods in soil or debris, so the disease is also managed by thermo-sanitization (burning) of infected fields after harvest and by use of healthy seedcane setts from disease-free nurseries. Soaking of seedcane setts in a solution of triadimefon fungicide helps prevent primary infections. Thermotherapy of infected seedcane setts also is effective in reducing the smut incidence. A recent outbreak occurred in the northwest part of Australia, the last country considered to be free of this disease.
APS publication number: IW000024
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