Sugar Tech

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 638–646 | Cite as

Epidemiology of Fusarium Diseases in Sugarcane: A New Discovery of Same Fusarium sacchari Causing Two Distinct Diseases, Wilt and Pokkah Boeng

  • R. Viswanathan
  • C. G. Balaji
  • R. Selvakumar
  • P. Malathi
  • A. Ramesh Sundar
  • C. Naveen Prasanth
  • M. L. Chhabra
  • B. Parameswari
Research Article


Sugarcane, an important field crop, is cultivated under tropical and subtropical regions around the world. Fusarium sacchari causing wilt, is a stalk disease, inflicting severe damage to the crop in India and other countries. Similarly, pokkah boeng (PB) a foliar disease caused by different species of Fusarium also infects the crop throughout the world. In India, both the diseases occur in different states in various sugarcane varieties. Although both diseases occur independently in the field, we recorded that they occur together in a plant. Hence, a detailed investigation was conducted to characterize different Fusarium isolates from wilt- and PB-affected sugarcane varieties by sequencing TEF1-α gene. Gene sequencing of 48 isolates revealed that 44 were of F. sacchari and the remaining four belonged to F. proliferatum. Of the four F. proliferatum, three were associated with PB and one with wilt. Almost all the 41 wilt-associated isolates belonged to F. sacchari. Investigation carried out to identify Fusarium isolates from the plants exhibiting both the wilt and the PB in two varieties Co 0238 and MS 901 revealed that only F. sacchari caused wilt and PB symptoms in both. Further, several varieties showed progressive disease severity through different phases of PB and that resulted in wilt development. The results clearly established for the first time that the same fungal pathogen systematically infects sugarcane plant and exhibits both the diseases.


Sugarcane Wilt Pokkah boeng Fusarium sacchari, TEF1-α 



The authors are grateful to the Directors of the Institute for providing facilities and acknowledge Dr. R. Jothi, Shri K. Manivannan and Shri. R. Nithyanandan for their technical support in carrying out field and laboratory studies. The research work was partly supported by ICAR under Outreach project on PHYTOFURA.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest


This study was partly funded by Outreach project of ICAR, ALCOCERA.

Ethical Standard

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


  1. Agnihotri, V.P. 1983. Diseases of Sugarcane, 363. New Delhi: Oxford and IBH publishing Co.Google Scholar
  2. Agnihotri, V.P. 1996. Current sugarcane disease scenario and management strategies. Indian Phytopathology 49: 109–126.Google Scholar
  3. Agnihotri, V.P., and G.P. Rao. 2002. A century status of sugarcane wilt in India. In Sugarcane Crop Management, ed. S.B. Singh, G.P. Rao, and S. Eswaramoorthy, 145–160. Houston, USA: SciTech Publishing LLC.Google Scholar
  4. Bolle, P.C. 1927. Een onderzock de oorzaak van pokah boeng en top rot. Arch. Suikerind Ned-Indie II 35: 589–609.Google Scholar
  5. Geiser, D.M., M.M.J. Nez-Gasco, S. Kang, I. Makalowska, N. Veeraraghavan, T.J. Ward, N. Zhang, G.A. Kuldau, and K. O’Donnell. 2004. FUSARIUM-ID v. 1.0: A DNA sequence database for identifying Fusarium. European Journal of Plant Pathology 110: 473–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Giatgong, P. 1980. Host index of plant diseases in Thailand, 2nd ed. Bangkok, Thailand: Dept. of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.Google Scholar
  7. Govender, P., S.A. McFarlane, and R.S. Rutherford. 2010. Fusarium species causing pokkah boeng and their effect on Eldana saccharina Walker (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Proceedings of South African Sugar Technologists Association 83: 267–270.Google Scholar
  8. Taher Khani, K., A. Alizadeh, R.F. Nejad, and A.S. Tehrani. 2013. Pathogenicity of Fusarium proliferatum, a new causal agent of pokkah boeng in sugarcane. Proceedings of the International Society of Sugar Cane Technologists 28: 317–324.Google Scholar
  9. Lin, Z., S. Xu, Y. Que, J. Wang, J.C. Comstock, J. Wei, P.H. McCord, B. Chen, R. Chen, and M. Zhang. 2014. Species-specific detection and identification of Fusarium species complex, the causal agent of sugarcane pokkah boeng in China. PLoS ONE 9 (8): e104195.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Lin, Z., Y. Zhang, Y. Que, R. Chen, B. Chen, and M. Zhang. 2015. Characterization of Fusarium verticillioides isolates from pokkah boeng on sugarcane and the disease incidence in field. Journal of Microbiology and Experimentation 2 (5): 00061. doi: 10.15406/jmen.2015.02.00061.Google Scholar
  11. Martin, J., H. Handojo, and C. Wismer. 1989. Pokkah boeng. Diseases of sugarcane: Major diseases, 157–168. New York: Elsevier.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. McFarlane, S., and R. Rutherford. 2005. Fusarium species isolated from sugarcane in KwaZulu-Natal and their effect on Eldana saccharina (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) development in vitro. Proceedings of South African Sugar Technologists Association 79: 120–124.Google Scholar
  13. McFarlane, S.A., P. Govender, and R.S. Rutherford. 2009. Interactions between Fusarium species from sugarcane and the stalk borer, Eldana saccharina (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Annals of Applied Biology 155: 349–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mohammadi, A., R.F. Nejad, and N.N. Mofrad. 2012. Fusarium verticillioides from sugarcane, vegetative compatibility groups and pathogenicity. Plant Protection Sciences 48: 80–84.Google Scholar
  15. Nordahliawate, M., M. Izzati, A. Azmi, and B. Salleh. 2008. Distribution, morphological characterization and pathogenicity of Fusarium sacchari associated with pokkah boeng disease of sugarcane in Peninsular Malaysia. Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science 31: 279–286.Google Scholar
  16. Patil, A.S., H. Singh, S.R. Sharma, and G.P. Rao. 2007. Morphology and pathogenicity of isolates of Fusarium moniliforme causing pokkah boeng of sugarcane in Maharashtra. In Microbial diversity: Modern trends, ed. R.C. Ram, and A. Singh, 234–263. New Delhi: Daya Publishers.Google Scholar
  17. Patil, A.S. 2002. Pokkah boeng and pineapple disease research progress in India. In Sugarcane Crop Management, ed. S.B. Singh, G.P. Rao, and S. Eswaramoorthy, 161–195. Houston, USA: SciTech Publishing LLC.Google Scholar
  18. Poongothai, M., R. Viswanathan, P. Malathi, and A. Ramesh Sundar. 2014a. Sugarcane wilt: Pathogen recovery from different tissues and variation in cultural characters. Sugar Tech 16: 50–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Poongothai, M., R. Viswanathan, P. Malathi, and A. Ramesh Sundar. 2014b. Fusarium sacchari causing sugarcane wilt: variation in morphological characteristics of the pathogen. International Sugar Journal 116: 54–63.Google Scholar
  20. Poongothai, M., R. Viswanathan, P. Malathi, A. Ramesh Sundar, C. Naveen Prasanth, and C.G. Balaji. 2015. Genetic relatedness among Fusarium populations associated with sugarcane wilt in India: bridging molecular variability and phylogenetic diversity. Journal of Sugarcane Research 5 (1): 33–48.Google Scholar
  21. Rao, G.P., and V.P. Agnihotri. 2000. Wilt. In A guide to sugarcane diseases, ed. P. Rott, R. Bailey, J.C. Comstock, B. Croft, and S. Saumtally, 193–197. Montpellier: CIRAD/ISSCT.Google Scholar
  22. Rosas-Guevara, V., M. Hernández-Arenas, R. Miranda-Marini, E. Bravo-Mosqueda, and A. Berriozabal-Onofre. 2014. Identification and morphological variability of pokkah boeng (Fusarium spp) on sugar cane, in Mexico. Investigación Agropecuaria 11 (2): 119–126.Google Scholar
  23. Scindiya, M. 2013. Molecular characterization of Fusarium species associated with wilt and pokkah boeng/top rot diseases of sugarcane. M. Phil thesis, 105, Coimbatore: Bharathiar University.Google Scholar
  24. Sheldon, J.L. 1904. A corn mold (Fusarium moniliforme). New Agricultural Experiment Station, Annual Report 17: 23–32.Google Scholar
  25. Vishwakarma, S.K., P. Kumar, A. Nigam, A. Singh, and A. Kumar. 2013. Pokkah Boeng: An emerging disease of sugarcane. Journal of Plant Pathology and Microbiology 4 (3): 1000170.Google Scholar
  26. Viswanathan, R. 2012. Sugarcane diseases and their management, 140. Coimbatore: Sugarcane Breeding Institute.Google Scholar
  27. Viswanathan, R. 2013. Status of sugarcane wilt: One hundred years after its occurrence in India. Journal of Sugarcane Research 3 (2): 86–106.Google Scholar
  28. Viswanathan, R., P. Malathi, A. Ramesh Sundar, M. Poongothai, and N. Singh. 2006. Current status of sugarcane wilt in India. Sugar Cane International 24 (4): 1–7.Google Scholar
  29. Viswanathan, R., P. Malathi, A. Annadurai, C. Naveen Prasanth, and M. Scindiya. 2014. Sudden occurrence of wilt and pokkah boeng in sugarcane and status of resistance in the parental clones in national hybridization garden to these diseases. Journal of Sugarcane Research 4 (1): 62–81.Google Scholar
  30. Viswanathan, R., M. Poongothai, and P. Malathi. 2011. Pathogenic and molecular confirmation of Fusarium sacchari causing wilt in sugarcane. Sugar Tech 13: 68–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Viswanathan, R., M. Poongothai, P. Malathi, and C. Naveen Prasanth. 2015. Sugarcane wilt: Simulation of pathogenicity through different methods and environments. International Sugar Journal 117: 286–293.Google Scholar
  32. Viswanathan, R., M. Poongothai, P. Malathi, and A. Ramesh Sundar. 2012. Sugarcane wilt: New insights into the pathogen identity, variability and pathogenicity. In Functional plant science and biotechnology 6 Special Issue 2, ed. R. Viswanathan, and A.R. Sundar, 30–39. Ikenobe, Japan: Global Science Books.Google Scholar
  33. Wakker, J.H., and F.A.F.C. Went. 1896. Overview of the diseases of sugarcane in Java. Arch. Suikerind. Ned. Indie IV: 427–435.Google Scholar
  34. Whittle, P., and L. Irawan. 2000. Pokkah boeng. In A guide to sugarcane diseases, ed. P. Rott, R.A. Bailey, J.C. Comstock, B.J. Croft, and A.S. Saumtally, 136–140. Montpellier: CIRAD/ISSCT.Google Scholar
  35. Zainudin, N.A.I.M., N.A. Ismail, N.M.I.M. Nor, A.A. Razak, S.N.M. Siddique, and B. Salleh. 2009. Nitrate non-utilizing mutants and vegetative compatibility groups of Fusarium proliferatum and F sacchari isolated from rice in the peninsular Malaysia and Kalimantan, Indonesia. Journal of Plant Protection Research 49 (2): 229–235. doi: 10.2478/v10045-009-0035-z.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Society for Sugar Research & Promotion 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Crop ProtectionICAR-Sugarcane Breeding InstituteCoimbatoreIndia
  2. 2.ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute Regional CentreKarnalIndia

Personalised recommendations