- Millet

Millet Millet

Pearl Millet Smut

Fungus

Moesziomyces bullatus


In a Nutshell

  • Grains become green sori (fungal spores capsules).
  • Later the fungi turn black.

Symptoms

The grains of the millet become green sori. These are larger than the grains and appear as oval/conical capsules. As the disease progresses, the sori turn black. In case of pearl millet smut, the ovaries are converted into sori in the infected florets. The smut sori are usually larger in size than normal grains and are formed in place of normal grains projecting out from between the glumes. In early stages, the colour of sori remains bright green that slowly turns brown to black on maturity. The normal grain contents are replaced by black, dense, powdery mass of spores. Sori are covered by a thin film, which breaks at maturity, and releases brownish black spore mass. On ripening, sori releases many spores in the air, which cause further infection on healthy ear heads. The smut fungus gradually replaces the grain content with black powdery mass and the sori finally consist of remains of host tissue and the spores. The entire grain content is replaced by black dense spore mass but the membrane covering the smut remains intact. The lower portion of ear head which usually remains covered by the sheath of the flag leaf is normally found heavily infected with smut.

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Hosts

Trigger

Symptoms are caused by a pathogen called Moesziomyces bullatus. The disease is transmitted via seeds. The pathogen can grow on a wide range of temperatures (5-40°C), with its maximum growth at 30°C. Fungal spores can survive in the soil. Seed, soil and air borne nature.

Organic Control

Millet smut is best managed by using resitant varieties. We don't know of any alternative treatment against Moesziomyces bullatus. Please get in touch with us in case you know of something that might help to fight this disease. Looking forward hearing from you.

Chemical Control

Always consider an integrated approach with preventive measures and biological treatments if available. From an economic point of view, chemical treatment is not viable. The disease is very difficult to manage because of its seed, soil and air borne nature. Spray COC and Carbendazim.

Preventive Measures

  • Use resistant varieties like WC-C75, ICMS 7703, ICTP 8203, and ICMV 155.
  • Use healthy seeds.
  • Avoid excessive nitrogen fertilisation.
  • The smut infection can by reduced by soil solarization with white polythene and grass mulch.
  • Delayed sowing and using lower rate of Nitrogen fertilizer decreases the incidence.

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