Soil-borne pathogen new to chickpea growing regions in India detected

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Photo: File photo of Dr Mamta Sharma and her team at work in the pathogen lab. Photo: S Punna, ICRISAT

A soil-borne pathogen, new to chickpea growing regions in India, was detected during a real-time survey being conducted regularly to study the spike in soil-borne diseases. After intensive morphological and molecular characterization, the pathogen was identified as Ectophoma multirostrata – which to the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of E. multirostrata causing root rot of chickpea worldwide. The sequence of this new pathogen was submitted to the National Center for Biotechnology Information GenBank database and the findings were published in Plant Disease , a leading international journal for rapid reporting of research on new, emerging, and established plant disease.

Infected chickpea samples were collected from 300 different fields in five states — Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka — spanning a diverse range of climates. An average incidence of soil-borne pathogens in the surveyed tracts was 25-30%. Of the 150 symptomatic root samples, most of the fungal colonies obtained were identified as Macrophomina phaseolina (syn. Rhizoctonia bataticola) causing dry root rot in chickpea, while isolations from 10-15% samples recurrently yielded the new pathogen closely resembling Macrophomina phaseolina.

Read more on the origin of this pathogen, and local government efforts to address this:

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