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Screening of Selected Sorghum Genotypes for Resistance to Covered Kernel Smut Disease in Western Kenya

Okongo Caroline, Ouma Evans, Gudu Samuel

Abstract: Sorghum is an important food security crop for arid and semi-arid tropics but its production is hampered by many biotic and abiotic factors including covered kernel smut disease (CKSD) caused by fungus Sporosorium sorghi in the Ustilaginaceae family. The disease attacks susceptible sorghum genotypes causing yield losses estimated at 43% in Western Kenya. This study determined the response of selected sorghum genotypes to CKSD under field and greenhouse conditions. A total of 15 elite sorghum genotypes were screened under field conditions in Migori and Homa Bay sites and under greenhouse at the University of Eldoret. Data on disease incidence and severity were collected per genotype and analyzed using R-Studio software and means were separated at 1% using Tukey’s test. Results showed significant differences among genotypes for disease incidence and severity under fields and greenhouse conditions. Disease incidence varied significantly (p < 0.001) among the genotypes ranging from zero (for T53, T30, IS3092, N4 and N68) to 64% (for Nyadundo2) under field conditions but ranged from 0-69% under greenhouse conditions. Similarly, severity followed the same trend with C26 having the worst attack with a score of 5 while T53 recorded the least (score of 1). This study has identified potential sources of resistance for covered kernel smut disease that can be utilized to manage the disease and significantly improve sorghum yields in the target regions.
Keywords: food security / genotypes / sorghum / covered kernel smut / kernel smut disease

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