Submitted to: Mycological Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/16/2005
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: We collected 89 isolates of the sorghum ergot pathogen from infected sorghum in different parts of India and found that they fell into two distinct groups. One was named Africana type and the other Sorghi type. The groups differed in their basic biological growth forms (morphology), and the sizes and shapes of their spores. The Africana type cultures are believed to represent the species Claviceps africana and the Sorghi type cultures to represent the species Claviceps sorghi. The Africana type cultures were much more widely distributed in India compared with the Sorghi type cultures. One reason for this could be the propensity of Africana type cultures to produce higher numbers of airborne spores which can infect susceptible sorghum plants over a wide area.
Technical Abstract: Eighty-nine sorghum ergot isolates were cultured from young sphacelia obtained from infected sorghum panicles collected in India. The isolates differed distinctly in their cultural characteristics and were grouped broadly into two categories- one as the Africana typa and one as the Sorghi type. Isolates from the two groups differed distinctly in the morphology of their sphacelia, conidia, and sclerotia. Based on our study and combined with molecular evidence, it was confirmed that the isolates belonging to the Africana type are C. africana and the Sorghi type isolates C. sorghi. In India, C. africana is widely distributed in all sorghum growing areas and the originally described species C. sorghi is apparently restricted to a few locations in the states of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.