Corn Reddening: Occurrence, Symptoms and Field Observations
Corn reddening (CR) was observed for the first time in Serbia in 1957. After that, it occurred periodically, mainly in the region of Banat. In 2002 and 2003, a severe outbreak happened in late July / early August. Initial symptoms were the occurrence of a red-violet color on the leaves, leaf sheaths, husks and the bare portion of internodes. The symptoms typically appeared at the milk maturity stage and the discoloration was the most intensive at top leaves, around the main vein and along the edges, from leaf base to tip. Soon after the occurrence of the symptoms, the affected plants wilted, the foliage dried rapidly, the red pigmentation disappeared for a greater part and finally plant died off. The ears were underdeveloped and gummous and kernels were shriveled and unfilled.
Several experiments were conducted to determine a possible connection between CR occurrence and the studied factors. Corn stunt spiroplasma was not identified in the CR-affected plants, and there was no apparent relationship between CR and soil fertility or nematode species identified in soil and plant samples. Insecticide-treated plots had lower CR incidence than untreated (control) plots, indicating that biotic factors could be involved.
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