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Red rot of sugarcane

Name of disease: Red rot

 Causal agent : Glomerella tucumanensis 


The spindle leaves (3rd14th)) display drying. At a later stage, stalks become discoloured and hollow. Acervuli (black fruiting bodies) develop on rind and nodes. After splitting open the diseased stalk, a sour smell emanates. The internal tissues are reddened with intermingled
transverse white spots. In advanced stage of the disease, the colour becomes earthy brown with pith cavity in the centre showing white cottony hyphae and sometimes fruiting bodies of fungus (acervuli). In rainy season, the disease spreads so fast that whole crop dries and not a single millable cane is obtai

Disease Management:

Resistant or moderately resistant varieties should be used. Any sett showing reddening at the cut ends or at the nodal region should be discarded. Healthy seed should be planted. Such seed must be produced from crop raised from heat treatment of seed canes in moist hot air at 54°C for 2.5 hour at 99% humidity. As soon as disease' is noticed, the affected clump along with root system should be uprooted and burnt. Bunding of affected field should be done to avoid movement of rain or floodwater. Ratooning of diseased crop should be avoided. Diseased crop should be harvested as early as possible. Crop rotation should be followed in affected fields.


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Red rot of sugarcane

Spiondle infection

Red rot of sugarcane

Red rot of sugarcane was first reported from Java (now Indonesia) by Went in 1893. During 1895-1900 the disase assumed epidemic proportion in the Godavari Delata of Andhra Pradesh, India (Barber 1901). Butler(1906) published a detailed account of this disease from PUSA, Bihar and gave it the name 'Red rot'. The disease is caused by the fungus Colletotrichum falcatum Went (imperfect state); perfect /ascigerous state = Glomerella tucumanensis (Speg.) von Arx and Muller). The disease is the number one problem of sugarcane in India and entire cane breeding in India is geared around this disease. Today, no sugarcane variety is released for cultivation without resistance to red rot.

The pathogen is mainly sett-borne (goes in the field along with the planting material) and thus affects the cane plant from the germination. The damage starts with germination failure, settling mortality to the dying of the full-grown cane. In full-grown cane the disease appears as the yellowing of the crown leaves. On splitting open the cane of such affected plants, interrupted red and white patches (white spot) along with sour alcoholic odour are observed. In later statge numerous acervuli develops on the rind. The pathogen mainly spreads during the rainy season and if environement favours it can wipe out entire sugarcane plantation.

The disease is currently managed through host resistance as fungicides do not get adequate entry( conc. is less to effect eradication) into the stalk. Application of biocontrol agents like Trichoderma has shown promise in the containment of the disease through antibiosis and induced systemic resistance. 

Ref: Duttamajumder, S.K. 2008. Red rot of sugarcane. 171pp(including 39 colour plates). IISR, Lucknow, India.

How can we control on this

How can we control on this? The internal tissues are reddened with intermingled.