Charcoal rot, caused by Macrophomina phaseolina, has been reported on "millet" (Botswana 1987). This report is subject to question, since the "millet" referred to in the report was not specifically identified as pearl millet, and several pathogens of pearl millet (for example, Puccinia penniseti, Tolyposporium penicillariae, and Claviceps fusiformis) were identified as causal agents of diseases of maize. Further verification will be useful before confirming that charcoal rot is a disease of pearl millet in Botswana.
A disease called dry stalk rot of pearl millet was described from India and reported to be caused by Macrophomina phaseolina (Singh et al. 1997). The disease caused blackening or browning of the stem usually above the first node and extending beyond the second or third node. Tillering was reduced, and plants often died before flowering. Pycnidia developed on infected internodes. Pith tissue was disintegrated, and vascular bundles were free. Infected plants sometimes lodged. Inoculations were performed to confirm pathogenicity.
Konde et al. (1980) has reported isolation of Rhizoctonia bataticola (=Sclerotium bataticola Taub [teleomorph: Macrophomina phaseolina (Tassi) G. Goid.]) from seed in India.
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Original posting: June 5, 1999.