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Red Rot Disease
What is it?
• The red rot disease, which is also known as the cancer of sugarcane crops, can wipe out entire standing crops. The infection can reduce the sugarcane's weight by 29 per cent and result in poor quality of cane. As much as 25-75% sucrose is reduced in diseased cane as compared to the healthy cane.
• Red rot is the most destructive disease of sugarcane. The disease affects every portion of the plant above the ground. The leaves wither gradually downwards with the progress of the disease.
• The fungus that causes the disease is spread by wind, rain, and insects. The disease might persist from one year to the next in the soil, decomposing leaves, or crop stubble that is left over after ratooning. When a farmer plants canes that are already infected, the disease will also spread to the field.
• The affected canes leaf changes its color, from green to orange and then to yellow in the third or fourth leaf and after that, the leaves start drying from bottom to top.
• If the fungal microorganisms enter the leaf sheath through the leaf midrib, then reddish spots can be seen on the back side of the leaf midrib.
• Red rot disease is caused by the fungus Glomerella tucumanensis. An older name, Colletotrichum falcatum, is still preferred by some pathologists.