Submitted to: Plant Health Progress
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/7/2010
Publication Date: 1/3/2011
Citation: Harveson, R. M., Markell, S. G., Goswami, R., Urrea, C. A., Burrows, M. E., Dugan, F., Chen, W., and Skoglund, L. G. 2011. Ascochyta blight of chickpeas. Plant Health Progress DOI: 10.1094/PHP-2011-0103-01-DG. Interpretive Summary: Historically chickpea has been a minor crop in the United States, but interest in chickpea as an alternative crop to spring cereals has increased in the Pacific Northwest and in the High Plains where rainfall is marginal. This is reflected the increased production of chickpea in the Pacific Northwest and in the Northern Great Plains. Consequently, Ascochyta blight of chickpea has become an important disease limiting chickpea production and yield. This article is aimed at providing description, identification, and management of this disease in these US production areas.
Technical Abstract: Chickpea is becoming increasingly important as a rotational crop in cereal production systems. Ascochyta blight is the most devastating disease of chickpea and must be appropriately managed to minimize its damage to crops and increase chickpea yield. The disease is caused by the fungus Ascochyta rabiei. The pathogen survives in debris and seeds, and can infect all above ground parts of chickpea plants causing blight symptoms. The pathogen can be readily isolated using conventional nutrient medium and can be stored on cellulose filter papers for a number of years for research purposes. Identification of the pathogen requires microscopic examination and can be aided using molecular markers. Pathogenicity tests can be conducted in controlled environments with chickpea seedlings to confirm virulence and identification.