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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

seedling blight of grasses (Pythium graminicola)

Host plants / species affected
Agrostis stolonifera var. palustris (bent grass)
Curcuma longa (turmeric)
Gossypium (cotton)
Hordeum vulgare (barley)
Oryza sativa (rice)
Phaseolus (beans)
Pisum (pea)
Poaceae (grasses)
Saccharum officinarum (sugarcane)
Triticum (wheat)
Triticum aestivum (wheat)
Zea mays (maize)
Zoysia matrella (Manila grass)
List of symptoms/signs
Roots  -  soft rot of cortex
Seeds  -  discolorations
Seeds  -  rot
Whole plant  -  damping off
Whole plant  -  dwarfing
Whole plant  -  plant dead; dieback
Whole plant  -  seedling blight
Root rot is the primary symptom caused by P. graminicola, but it may also infect above-ground tissue, causing stalk rot in maize, foot rot of beans and leaf blight of grasses. Less conspicuous, but nonetheless more prevalent symptoms include feeder root necrosis in rice, sugarcane and maize, resulting in decline diseases and replanting problems (Hodges and Campbell, 1994; Deep and Lipps 1996; Chen, 1999).
Prevention and control

Cultural Control and Sanitary Methods

Cultural practices that can improve soil drainage and use of resistant varieties are the most effective control measures for P. graminicola. Application of composts can suppress damping-off of turf grasses (Craft and Nelson, 1996).

Host-Plant Resistance

Resistant hybrids or varieties of maize and a number of other crops have been reported (Pratt and Janke 1980; Holley and Goodman, 1988).

Biological Control

Trichoderma harzianum, Burkholderia cepacia and Pseudomonas fluorescens have been used to control root rot of bentgrass (Agrostis spp.) and wheat (Lo et al., 1997; Milus and Rothrock, 1997); application of Trichoderma viride drastically reduced root disease incidence in field tests, and completely suppressed growth of P. graminicola in in vitro tests (Padmanaban and Alexander, 1984, 1990).

Chemical Control

Soil drenches with thiram, captan, thiophanate-methyl, vinclozolin or iprobenfos, improved germination and reduce root rot of sugarcane caused by P. graminicola (Kumar, 1989). Rice seedling blight is controlled by hymexazol, or hymexazol and metalaxyl, and the broad-spectrum fungicide metasulfocarb (Yamaguchi, 1986). In in vitro tests, chloroneb, copper oxychloride and captan completely inhibited the growth of P. graminicola (Alagianagalingam et al., 1977).

P. graminicola causes significant yield losses worldwide in maize by causing root and stalk rot, and in sugarcane by causing replanting decline.
Related treatment support
External factsheets
CIMMYT Plant Pest and Disease Factsheets, Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trigo (CIMMYT) (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center), English language
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