Phylloplane Yeasts as Potential Biocontrol Agents for Rice Sheath Blight Disease

  • A. K. M. Shahjahan
  • M. C. Rush
  • D. E. Groth


Rice is an important cereal crop in the world. More than 50% of the world’s population utilises rice for their main daily intake of carbohydrate. It is an important cash crop in several states in the United States. There are many constraints to rice production in the world with diseases being among the most significant due to the severity of losses and the lack of cost efficient control measures. Yield losses due to diseases range from 10% or more in the United States (Groth et al., 1991; Lee and Rush, 1983) to 20–25% in other countries (Ou, 1985; Rao, 1995; Shahjahan et al., 1986 ). Among the major fungal diseases of rice, sheath blight caused by Rhizoctonia. solani, is the most destructive necrotrophic disease (Lee and Rush, 1983; Ou, 1985; Rao, 1995; Rush and Lee 1992). The disease is endemic in nature and the pathogen overwinters as sclerotia in soil and in debris from the previous crop. The sclerotia and debris float to the surface of flood water and initiate infections on the lower leaf sheaths starting with the maximum tillering stage of growth. Under the conditions of high temperature and humidity prevailing during the panicle initiation to heading stages, sheath blight develops very rapidly. When the plants are heading, lesions may reach the flag leaf in as few as 10–15 days (Groth et al., 1991; Rush and Lee, 1992; Shahjahan and Mew, 1989). Most modern rice cultivars are susceptible to this disease. Commercial cultivars are susceptible or have low levels of partial resistance (Rush et al., 1995). Farmers presently use fungicides to control this disease in the United States (Groth et al., 1993) and in other countries (Ou, 1985), but this technology increases the cost of production as well as leaving potential pollutants in the environment. Fungicide use also affects the nontarget phylloplane microorganisms that naturally restrain pathogen development (Andrews and Kinnerly, 1978; Fokkema and de Nooij, 1981; Rush et al., 1991; Van Eeckhout et al., 1991). Because of its sustainable nature, scientists all over the world are now concentrating on developing biological methods of disease control.


Biological Control Powdery Mildew Sweet Cherry Rice Hull Sheath Blight 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. K. M. Shahjahan
    • 1
  • M. C. Rush
    • 1
  • D. E. Groth
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology, Louisiana AgriculturalExperiment StationLouisiana State University Agricultural CenterBaton RougeUSA
  2. 2.Rice Research StationCrowleyUSA

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