First Report of Sugarcane Smut in Morocco. M. Akalach, Sugar Plant protection Bureau, Technical Centre of Sugar Crops (CTCAS), BP 79 Kenitra, Morocco. Plant Dis. 78:529. Accepted for publication 18 January 1994. Copyright 1994 The American Phytopathological Society. DOI: 10.1094/PD-78-0529A.
Long, dark brown, whip-like sori characteristic of smut were observed emerging from the apex of sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.) at the Technical Centre of Sugar Crops (CTCAS), Kenitra, Morocco, on 18 June 1993. The sorus, or whip, consisted of a hard core of fibrous tissues surrounded by masses of teliospores encased in a membranous sheath. The disease was most severe on cultivar L.72-85, which occupies 15.8% of the 14,500 ha under sugarcane in the Gharb and Loukkos regions. Cultivars CP65-357 and L62-96, which occupy 34.5 and 40.3%, respectively, were also affected but to a lesser degree. The pathogen was identified as Ustilago scitaminea Syd. & P. Syd. on the basis of host symptoms including whips and thin, grasslike shoots, teliospore morphology, and leliospore size (5.1-7.8 Μm in diameter). The identification was confirmed by J. E. M. Mordue at the International Mycological Institute, Surrey, England. This is the first report of smut on sugarcane in Morocco, which had remained free from smut since the introduction of sugarcane in the early 1960s. Smut is reported to develop in hot and dry conditions, which prevailed for two successive years preceding the appearance of the disease. Smut can cause significant losses in susceptible cultivars.