Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: April 11, 2011
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Leaf blights and spots caused by fungi are some of the most destructive diseases of corn in the US and around the world. Correct identification of the disease is very important in determining the best means of control. The 4th edition contains updated information on the georgraphic distribution, causal agent taxonomy, yield losses, and genetics of resistance to both major and minor foliar diseases of corn. This updated information will be useful for farmers, crop advisors, extension personnel, and researchers seeking general information on foliar diseases of corn, their diagnosis, and mentods of control.
Technical Abstract: Leaf blights and spots caused by fungi are some of the most destructive diseases of corn in the US and around the world. Correct identification of the disease is very important in determining the best means of control. For example, gray leaf spot of maize can be caused by one of at least two species of Cercospora, even though the symptoms on maize are identical. However, the appearance and growth rate in culture allow easy discrimination between the two species. Genetic resistance to foliar diseases of maize is usually the preferred method of control and is often governed by quantitative trait loci (QTL) dispersed across the maize genome. This is information has been valuable as maize breeders are increasing the use of marker-assisted selection (MAS) for disease resistance and other traits in their maize improvement programs. Many foliar diseases of maize are considered of minor importance to production in the U.S. It should be kept in mind that diseases of maize such as gray leaf spot and anthracnose were once considered "minor", but changes in cultural practices, pathogen races, and the germplasm base of U.S. hybrids have resulted in their becoming major problems to U.S. growers. The use of foliar fungicides in maize field production, unheard of a decade ago, is becoming increasingly common in much of the U.S. corn belt.