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Impact of heat and soil moisture stress on chickpea plant infection with fungal pathogens

Mamta Sharma: ICRISAT

<div>Chickpea (<em>Cicer arietinum</em> L.) is one of the essential semiarid tropical legume crops grown in the post-rainy season on stored soil moisture (south Asia and spring-sown Mediterranean) or as a Mediterranean winter crop. In both of these instances, the crop is exposed to terminal drought accompanied with high temperatures. Increase in the frequency of climate extremes is influencing the distribution, establishment and epidemiology of chickpea diseases. Changes in the disease spectrum in chickpea for the past one decade were monitored through extensive surveys. Analysis of disease and weather data indicated shift in the occurrence and distribution of chickpea diseases as well as emergence of new diseases. An extension in the geographical distribution of <em>F. oxysporum </em>f. sp.<em> ciceris,</em> wilt pathogen of chickpea has been reported under future climatic scenarios. Several minor diseases like dry root rot (<em>Rhizoctonia bataticola</em>) is becoming more intense in tropical humid areas under high temperature and soil moisture stress. Contrary to this, sporadic occurrence of collar rot (<em>Sclerotium rolfsii</em>) has been noticed under high soil moisture levels. Host resistance, changes in biochemical and molecular profiling influenced by soil moisture levels and rise in temperature in relation to these diseases have also been studied. Extensive research is required in this domain to develop adaptation and mitigation strategies for sustained food security. Breeding being an essential part of crop improvement needs to keep pace with these emerging diseases.</div>