Source: ChiniMandi [edited]
[In] Lakhimpur Kheri [district], the sugarcane crops are affected due to the red rot disease. As the issue was highlighted by the local media, the government officials rushed to the villages to see the impact on the crops.
District sugarcane officials have asked the regional sugar mills to visit the fields and spray the essential medicines. Officials taught farmers how to identify the disease and the steps required to eliminate it. They explained in detail about the red rot and how it affects the crops and how we can bring it under control.
[Byline: Vivek Waghmode]
[Red rot disease of sugar cane is caused by the fungus _Colletotrichum falcatum_ (previously _Glomerella tucumanensis_). It is one of the oldest known diseases of the crop occurring in most cane growing countries but continues to be a threat in a number of regions. In India, it has caused extensive damage in the past and was responsible for the elimination of many elite sugar cane varieties.
Early symptoms are difficult to recognise and may include discolouration, red streaks on midribs, lesions, and drooping of young leaves. Symptoms expand until all stalks of the plant wither, die, and collapse within 4 to 8 days. Affected stalks show an internal dull red discolouration interrupted by occasional white patches characteristic for the disease, they may also contain large cavities. Seed pieces may rot completely. Symptoms are highly variable depending on the host variety and environmental conditions. In tolerant varieties, the infection remains largely confined to the internodes.
Several pathogenic strains of the fungus have been reported from many countries. Climatic factors affect both the spread and severity of red rot. The disease is favoured by excessive soil moisture, drought, and low temperatures. In addition, the nutritional state of the host may affect fungal growth. The pathogen can be spread by wind, rain, irrigation water, infected planting material, and crop debris. Spores may survive in the soil to infect planted seed pieces. Hosts other than sugar cane are not considered important inoculum sources.
Disease management includes use of clean planting material, phytosanitation, and cultural methods. Quarantine measures must be applied to prevent movement of infected cane setts to new areas. Hot water or fungicide treatments can be applied to setts before planting, but foliar fungicides have proven ineffective. The use of resistant varieties is the most effective method of control. Host factors determining resistance to red rot are not fully understood, but breeding programmes using inter-generic and inter-specific crosses of _Saccharum_ spp. are being used to develop economically viable red rot resistant or tolerant varieties. Research on biocontrol agents is also being undertaken.
The fungus has also been reported as a cause of anthracnose of maize and it can also affect sorghum.
India (with states):
Uttar Pradesh districts:
Red rot symptoms on sugar cane:
Information on red rot of sugar cane:
_C. falcatum_ taxonomy and synonyms: