Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/2/2012
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Diseases may be a limiting factor in the production of energycane, a perennial crop, by reducing annual yields and reducing the longevity of the crop cycle. Disease concerns also include the potential that a compatible pathogen could spread between energycane and sugarcane, sorghum, or corn. Widespread planting of energycane in the southeastern may provide corridor for transmission of diseases such as orange rust caused by Puccinia kuehnii throughout the entire sugarcane and energycane industries. Energycane cultivars developed at the USDA-ARS Sugarcane Research Unit are the result of crosses between clones of Saccharum spp. (primarily S. spontaneum) or near relatives and commercial sugarcane cultivars, thus energycane will likely be affected by current sugarcane diseases. Parents and progeny are screened for resistance to the major sugarcane diseases affecting U.S. sugarcane including smut cause by Sporisorium scitamineum, mosaic caused Sugarcane mosaic virus and Sorghum mosaic virus, and leaf scald caused by Xanthomonas albilineans. Parental clones have also been screened for susceptibility to ratoon stunt cause by Leifsonia xyli subsp. xyli, a disease controlled with by planting pathogen-free cuttings and preventing mechanical spread of the pathogen during harvest. Genetic variability of pathogens is another concern. For example, finding durable resistance to brown rust caused by P. melanocephala has been difficult to achieve because of the rapid development of new races of the rust pathogen. Research is also being conducted to determine the influence of different cultural practices, such as soil fertility and crop residue management, on the development and severity of diseases in energycane.