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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Smut of Doob Ghas (Cynodon) infect our grains

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Cynodon dactylon Pers. is a common grass that grows everywhere in India. It grows on demarcation lines of crop fields and plain land.It has traditional and religious values in Hindu and tribal societies. Though the grass is infected by varieties of pathogens, cases of infection by smut fungi can be seen everywhere while passing through roads and fields. It is reported that spores of the fungi spread through wind and infect our grain crops causing considerable losses in productivity (Mishra, 2007)1. It is suggested that fungicides that are applied on crop plants to protect them from the disease, should equally be sprayed on these grass plants that act as a reservoir.

Smuts are diseases of    cereals, Maize, grasses, onion, and sorghum, caused by many species of fungi. It is characterized by resting bodies (spores) that accumulate in soot like masses called sori, formed within blisters in seeds, leaves, stems, flower parts, and bulbs. The sori usually break up into a black powder that is readily dispersed by the wind. Many smut fungi enter embryos or seedling plants, develop systemically, and appear externally only near maturity. Other smuts are localized, infecting actively growing tissues. Control includes growing resistant varieties in noninfested soil, treating seeds with a fungicide, using disease-free transplants, and destroying infected plants or plant parts before the spores are released.

Cynodon dactylon is variously known as Couch grass, green couch (Australia), Bermuda grass (United States), kabuta (Fiji), dhoub grass (Bangladesh), Bahama grass, quick grass (South Africa), chepica brave, gramilla blanca (Peru), hierba-fina (Cuba), griming, tigriston (Suriname).

Cynodon dactylon is a variable perennial, creeping by means of stolons and rhizomes, eight to 40 culms, (rarely) to 90 cm high: leaves hairy or glabrous, three to seven spikes (rarely two), usually 3-6 cm long and in one whorl, or in robust forms up to ten spikes, sometimes in two whorls: spikelets 2-3 mm long, rachilla often bearing a reduced floret. It differs from Digitaria scalarum (African couch) in the vegetative stage in that there is no obvious membranous ligule where the leaf-blade joins the sheath.

Reference: Mishra, M. P.: "Succession of fungi and their eco-microbial involvement in the decay of Cynodon dactylon Pers", Ph.D. thesis, RU


Key Words: doob ghas, smut, crops, pesticide

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