Link to home

Role of Flag Leaf and Spike Emergence Stage on the Incidence of Karnal Bunt in Wheat

December 1998 , Volume 82 , Number  12
Pages  1,368 - 1,370

J. Kumar and S. Nagarajan , Directorate of Wheat Research, Karnal, Post Box 158, Haryana-132001, India

Go to article:
Accepted for publication 27 August 1998.

Removal of the flag leaf of wheat, earlier hypothesized to act as a site where secondary sporidia of Tilletia indica multiply and conjugate, reduced the severity of Karnal bunt. Evidence reported here suggests that sporidia reach the flag leaf from the soil by splashing, multiply on the surface of the flag leaf, and move with rain water or dew into the boot of the flag leaf to cause infection of the spikelets. Plants in growth stage 49 (first awns visible) were more vulnerable to infection by secondary sporidia than were plants at other growth stages. At growth stage 49, the flag leaf lamina was fully opened, compared with its preceding stages, which had tubular and closed lamina. Also, leaf posture of the flag leaf at growth stage 49 is erect and thus may facilitate movement of sporidial inoculum into the boot. Upon completion of stage 49, the flag leaf becomes droopy, leading to lesser inoculum movement into the emerging spike. Thus, maximum success can be achieved in artificial creation of Karnal bunt by inoculating with secondary sporidia before onset of growth stage 49. Genotypes whose maturity avoids coincidence of this critical stage of spike emergence with periods of weather favorable for infection by T. indica may be selected for resistance breeding.

Additional keywords: allantoid sporidia, Neovossia indica

© 1998 The American Phytopathological Society