Submitted to: Sugar Tech
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: November 16, 2012
Publication Date: December 1, 2012
Citation: Comstock, J.C. 2012. Sugarcane diseases: Futuristic management strategies. Sugar Tech. DOI 10.l007/s12355-012-0193-6. Interpretive Summary: The paper summarizes the current status of managing diseases in sugarcane, forecasts changes that are accruing due to population increases, social changes and agronomic practices, probable technological advancements and their affect on diseases and their management. All trends predict increased demand for sugar for food and sugarcane as both a food and bio-fuel crop. Almost all countries with the possible exception of Brazil have reached their maximum acreage that can be used for growing sugarcane. Increased yields will have to come as a result of increased inputs such as fertilizers and increased irrigation and the development of cultivars with higher yield potentials. Although higher yield potentials have been obtained by many countries with active sugarcane breeding and cultivar development programs the rate of progress has slowed n these mature industries. Thus, higher yield potential will be the most challenging.
Technical Abstract: Sugarcane pathology and disease control practices are changing due to social, economic and technological events. Sugarcane is becoming more important economically because of the increasing price and demand for sugar and its use for bio-energy. These pressures make the control of diseases more important. Disease diagnosis has advanced where molecular PCR and RT-PCR are routine in most major sugarcane research institutes. In the future these assays will become even more commonplace. Development of resistant cultivars will continue via traditional breeding but cultivar development programs will be assisted by new technology. All the pressures will result in more rapid changes in cultivars to maximize sugarcane yields.