Identification of Blast Resistant Genotypes among Drought Tolerant Finger Millet in Uganda
Finger millet is an important food security crop among many subsistence farmers living in marginal and especially semi-arid regions of Eastern Africa. However, crop production is affected mainly by terminal drought and blast disease caused by fungus Pyricularia grisea. Both collectively lead to over 90% grain yield loss depending on environmental conditions, cropping systems and varietal differences. Therefore, resistance breakdown remains high owing to variability in the blast pathogen and weather conditions. Stable varieties should possess both blast resistance and drought. In order to initiate breeding for multiple resistance to blast on drought-tolerant background, a study was conducted to identify variability for blast resistance from adapted germplasm as an initial step in developing a breeding strategy for incorporating resistance. Thirty genotypes from drought-prone agro-ecologies and including mini core germplasm from NARO-NaSARRI national Finger Millet improvement programme were assessed. They were screened using a local virulent pathogen isolate (NGR1) from Ngora, representing Teso major farming system and is a hot spot for the blast. The screening was under controlled conditions from in Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute (MUARIK) in 2012b. The results showed significance (p<0.01) for Area Under Disease Progressive Curve (AUDPC). Subsequently, the study identified IE927, Seremi1, Seremi3, Sec220 and Kabale as highly resistant to foliar blast infection comparable to Gulu-E a standard broad-spectrum resistant check and they could be used to improve finger millet for blast resistance. Meanwhile DR33, IE9 and IE2576 as most susceptible compared to non-race -specific susceptible check E11 from Uganda.
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