Submitted to: Handbook of Maize
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/10/2008
Publication Date: 1/1/2009
Citation: Balint Kurti, P.J., Johal, G. 2009. Maize Disease Resistance. Handbook of Maize. 1 p.229-250.
Interpretive Summary: Maize (corn) suffers from a number of diseases affecting all parts of the plant. Resistance to most diseases can usualy be found amongst the many different maize lines available worldwide. In this chapter we discuss the types of resistance available and the mechanisms by which they confer resistance. We also speculate on the future of disease resistance research in maize.
Technical Abstract: Worldwide losses in maize due to disease (not including animals or viruses) were estimated to be about 9% in 2001-3 . This varied significantly by region with estimates of 4% in northern Europe and 14% in West Africa and South Asia (http://www.cabicompendium.org/cpc/economic.asp). Losses have tended to be effectively controlled in high-intensity agricultural systems where it has been economical to invest in resistant germplasm and pesticide applications. However, in areas like Southeast Asia, hot, humid conditions have favored disease development while economic constraints prevent the deployment of effective protective measures. Rather than being a comprehensive overview of maize disease resistance, in this chapter we aim to highlight some aspects of the subject that are currently of significant interest or that we feel have been under-investigated. Maize has contributed enormously to plant pathology in the past. We outline some major contributions to disease resistance genetics that have come out of studies in maize and discuss maize as a model system for disease resistance studies and why it seems to have fallen out of favor in recent years. We primarily discuss resistance to fungal and bacterial diseases; resistance to insects and viral diseases are dealt with in chapters 2 and 3.