Pearl millet downy mildew research in India: progress and perspectives

Thakur, R P and Shetty, H S and Khairwal, I S (2006) Pearl millet downy mildew research in India: progress and perspectives. International Sorghum and Millets Newsletter, 47. pp. 125-130.

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Downy mildew (DM), caused by Sclerospora graminicola, continues to be a major biotic constraint to pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.] production in India. The disease which had remained incipient on local landrace cultivars until the 1960s, became a serious threat to high-yielding, single-cross hybrids introduced into cultivation during the late 1960s. The first epiphytotics of DM occurred during the crop season of 1971 on the first popular hybrid HB 3 and caused substantial yield loss (Nene and Singh 1976). With the establishment of ICRISAT in 1972, pathological research on pearl millet began in 1974 to address the major diseases: downy mildew, ergot (Claviceps fusiformis), smut (Moesziomyces penicillariae) and rust (Puccinia substriata var indica). A Consultative Group meeting on downy mildew and ergot was held in 1975 at ICRISAT-Patancheru to review the status of research and identify priorities. The group, consisting of renowned plant pathologists and plant breeders from India and other countries, made several recommendations for downy mildew research relating to the internal seedborne nature of the pathogen, its likely transmission and methods to eliminate the pathogen from the seed; the relative roles of oospores, sporangia and seedborne inoculum in epidemiology; development of screening techniques; existence of physiologic races; multilocation evaluation of resistant lines to identify stable resistance; and development of chemical and cultural methods to supplement the principal host-plant resistance method of disease control (ICRISAT 1975). These recommendations formed the basis for downy mildew research encompassing basic, strategic and applied aspects. These are still being followed in our ongoing Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-ICRISAT partnership research.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Mandate crops > Millets
Depositing User: Library ICRISAT
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2011 11:08
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2011 11:08
Official URL:
Funders: Indian Council of Agricultural Research
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
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