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CTA. 1995. Sorghum's saviour. Spore 56. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47048
World-wide about 58 million tonnes of sorghum are produced each year, on 44 million hectares of land. However one fungal infestation has the ability to wipe out entire crops of sorghum, as well as devastating other cereal crops. The disease ergot,...
World-wide about 58 million tonnes of sorghum are produced each year, on 44 million hectares of land. However one fungal infestation has the ability to wipe out entire crops of sorghum, as well as devastating other cereal crops. The disease ergot, caused by the fungus Claviceps spp., infects the flower spikelets causing them to secrete a sweet sticky substance, attracting insects that spread the fungus from plant to plant. The fungus is also spread during threshing which breaks open the fungal spore cases. To date, plant breeders have had littIe success in trying to create varieties of sorghum that can resist the fungus, and the most popular chemical fungicide, mancozeb, is at best only 75% effective. However, groundbreaking research by Shiv Dhyan Singh, of the Crop Protection Division of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), has come up with a new method that is almost 100% effective in preventing infection by the fungus. To make this environmentally-friendly control measure, 500 grams of peeled and crushed garlic are shaken in half a litre of water. The mixture can then be sprayed onto the sorghum during the flowering season, giving almost complete protection against ergot infestations. The ICRISAT research team is currently working on how to improve the mixture by reducing its tendency to be washed off the plants when it rains, as well as developing a quick and easy method to process the large quantity of garlic needed. ICRISAT Patancheru 502 324 Andhra Pradesh INDIA