STRASA (Stress Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia), the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, India held a two-day review and planning workshop on major rice pests and diseases in South Asia at Punjab Agricultural University on 15-16 September. Twenty cooperators (13 from India , 3 from IRRI, 3 from Bangladesh. and 1 from Nepal) involved in the Biotic stress program of STRASA participated in the workshop.
Among the resource speakers and topics discussed at the workshop are:
- Dr. Karanjeet Thind, head of the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, PAU, emphasized the importance of biotic stresses in development of stress tolerant rice.
- Dr. Casiana Vera Cruz, IRRI plant pathologist presented an overview of major rice diseases in South Asia and anticipated impact of global climate change on rice diseases. She also noted the importance of resistance breeding in sustainable management of plant diseases, which may take several approaches, with incorporation of biotic stress resistance being included as a major breeding objective.
- Dr. Mukund Variar, principal scientist and officer-in-charge, Central Rainfed Rice Research Station Hazaribag, India presented population structure of blast pathogen in eastern India and pointed out that modern HYVs like Swarna harbor many pathogen lineages compared to traditional varieties. He reported that the combination of Pi-9 and Pita2 was most effective against all the pathotypes.
- Dr. Bo Zhou, IRRI plant pathologist, reported the Avr gene-based tool for virulence diagnosis of rice blast pathogen useful for prediction of the putative durability of resistance gene(s). He also stressed the importance of searching for new blast resistance genes/alleles from wild rice accessions. He reported that 6 Pik alleles from different accessions of O. glaberrima and 20 new Pi-2/Pi-9 alleles from O. rufipogon, O minuta and O. sativa have been identified.
- Dr. M. S. Prasad, principal scientist, Plant Pathology, Directorate of Rice Research (DRR), Hyderabad, India explained the importance of AICRIP (All India Coordinated Rice Improvement Program) system for multi-location evaluation of breeding materials at different hotspot locations against blast disease. He also stressed on the increased incidence of false smut of rice in India.
- Dr. S. S. Gosal, Director of Research, PAU mentioned that the intensity of diseases like bakanae, false smut and neck blast and insect pests like leaf folder have increased significantly due to changes in climatic conditions and changed cultivation practices.
- Dr. P. P. Singh, head, Plant Pathology, PAU, emphasized the importance of careful classification of races of pathogens based on their reactions on differentials.
- Dr. Arora, entomologist, PAU, reported that brown plant hopper (BPH) has become a major problem in Punjab and developed resistance against neo-nicotinoids.
- Dr. R. K. Gumber,PAU, mentioned that the increase in area under basmati rice production has resulted in higher incidences of bakanae.
- Dr. G. S. Laha, principal scientist, plant pathology, DRR, presented the distribution of bacterial blight of rice in India and explained characterization of pathogen under glasshouse condition. He mentioned that some strains of the pathogen in India can attack individually xa13 and Xa21 BB resistance genes.
- Dr. P. S. Pannu, Dr. Mustafa Kamal, and Dr. Bedanand Chaudhury presented current rice disease scenarios in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal, respectively.
- Dr. J. S. Lore, senior plant pathologist, PAU, explained the characterization of Xoo strains in Punjab. He mentioned that pathotype 7, virulent on Xa4, xa5, Xa7 and moderately virulent on Xa21, was most predominant in Punjab and pathotype 8 can attack IRBB55 (xa13 + Xa21).
- Dr. P. S. Sarao, senior entomologist, PAU, explained seed box screening methodology against BPH under glass house condition. He also presented the use of SSR markers in characterizing BPH population.
- Professor Kuldeep Singh, molecular biologist and director, Agricultural Biotechnology, PAU, gave a talk on the identification and utilization of new bacterial blight resistance genes from wild relatives of rice. He mentioned that a new BB resistance gene Xa38 has been identified and mapped from Oryza nivara which provides broad spectrum resistance against most of the pathotypes in Punjab. He also reported new BB resistance genes from accessions of Oryza glaberrima, O. barthi and and O. rufipogon.
Dr. J. S. Lore and Dr. Jyoti Jain made a practical demonstration on collection of BB infected samples from field, isolation of Xoo from infected leaves and its maintenance at the crop museum of PAU, BPH screening facility and rice biotechnology laboratory.
- Professor Kuldeep Singh explained different field experiments in Rice Biotechnology.
- Dr. G. S. Mangat, principal rice breeder, explained different rice breeding experiments .
- Dr. Gulsan Mahajan, senior rice agronomist explained rice agronomy experiments.
- Dr. J. S. Lore. Dr. D. S. Brar, hon. professor, PAU, Ludhiana and former IRRI plant breeder, demonstrated different bacterial blight experiments and pathotyping of Xoo strains.