Identification and Utilization of Ergot Resistance in Pearl Millet uri icon


  • Ergot (Claviceps fusiformis) is an important disease affecting pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum). Host-plant resistance has beencentral to the disease management strategies at ICRISAT Center, and accordingly the identification, utilization, and deploymentof resistance to ergot has been a major objective of pearl millet improvement research. This bulletin summarizes research workdone at ICRISAT since 1977, which has led to the development of an effective field screening technique, based on a properunderstanding of pathogen biology and disease epidemiology, and the role of pollination in ergot infection and resistanceidentification; development of ergot-resistance sources; determination of the stability of resistance; and utilization of some ofthese sources of resistance to breed agronomically elite ergot-resistant materials, especially hybrid seed parents.More than 11 100 pearl millet entries were screened, and plants with <10% ergot severity were intermated to select lines withimproved levels of resistance through pedigree breeding. About 280 ergot-resistant lines and populations were developed, andcharacterized for their reactions to smut, downy mildew, and rust, and for various agronomic traits. Some of the ergot-resistantlines and populations were used in breeding projects aimed at producing ergot-resistant male-sterile lines, hybrids, and openpollinatedvarieties.The information contained in this bulletin should be useful to breeders and pathologists involved in the genetic improvementof pearl millet. Small quantities of seed of ergot-resistant lines are available on request

publication date

  • 1993