Susceptibility of sugarcane to red rot caused by two Fusarium species and its impact on stalk sugar level

  • Fe Dela Cueva
  • Rachele De Torres
  • Alyssa de Castro
  • JayVee Mendoza
  • Mark Angelo BalendresEmail author
Original Article


Red rot of sugarcane is caused by Colletotrichum falcatum. A recent survey, however, indicates that other fungal species may be associated with red rot-infected sugarcane leaves. This study 1) investigates the cause of the red rot-like symptoms using a polyphasic approach, 2) determines the pathogenicity of the fungi in sugarcane leaves and infection potential in leaves and stalks in detached-plant assays, and 3) assesses their effect on the stalk sugar level. Based on combined morpho-cultural and molecular characterization, the associated fungi were identified as Fusarium sacchari and F. proliferatum. The two Fusarium species induced red rot in leaves and stalk, as did the C. falcatum control isolate. Stalks infected with the two Fusarium species had reduced sugar level after 14 days, compared to the healthy stalk checks. To our knowledge, this is the first record of Fusarium species associated with red rot in sugarcane. These results suggest that the causal agent of red rot in the field is likely to be considered when developing or implementing disease control measures. Further, sugarcane breeding programs for red rot resistance would be likely aimed at all known causal pathogens.


Fusarium sacchari Fusarium proliferatum Colletotrichum falcatum Sugar brix Disease etiology 



We thank Mary Joy C. Mendoza, Marita S. Pinili, Rizalina Tiongco, Ezzel Evallo, and Eddie Bueta for valuable technical support.


This study was funded by the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), Department of Agriculture (Philippines). The Institute of Plant Breeding, College of Agriculture and Food Science, University of the Philippines Los Baños has provided in-kind support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Società Italiana di Patologia Vegetale (S.I.Pa.V.) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Plant Breeding, College of Agriculture and Food ScienceUniversity of the Philippines Los Baños, CollegeLagunaPhilippines

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