African Journal of
Plant Science

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Plant Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0824
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPS
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 708

Full Length Research Paper

Occurrence, distribution and severity of finger millet blast caused by Magnaporthe oryzae in Kenya

Margaret Odeph
  • Margaret Odeph
  • Institute for Biotechnology Research, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya.
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Wycliffe Wanjala Luasi
  • Wycliffe Wanjala Luasi
  • Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Biotechnology, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya.
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Agnes Kavoo
  • Agnes Kavoo
  • Department of Horticulture, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya.
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Cecilia Mweu
  • Cecilia Mweu
  • Institute for Biotechnology Research, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya.
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Matthew Ngugi
  • Matthew Ngugi
  • Department of Horticulture, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya.
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Fredah Maina
  • Fredah Maina
  • Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, Nairobi, Kenya.
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Naomi Nzilani
  • Naomi Nzilani
  • Department of Horticulture, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya.
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Wilton Mwema Mbinda
  • Wilton Mwema Mbinda
  • Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Pwani University, Kilifi, Kenya.
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Desta Bekele
  • Desta Bekele
  • Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Assosa Agricultural Research Center, Assosa, Ethiopia.
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Girma Abera
  • Girma Abera
  • School of Plant and Horticulture Science, College of Agriculture, Hawassa University, Hawassa, Ethiopia.
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Amsalu Gobena
  • Amsalu Gobena
  • School of Plant and Horticulture Science, College of Agriculture, Hawassa University, Hawassa, Ethiopia.
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  •  Received: 30 January 2020
  •  Accepted: 03 April 2020
  •  Published: 30 April 2020

Abstract

Finger millet is a food crop that provides nutritional security and is climatically resilient for farming and agricultural diversification. However, its quality and yield remain low due to biotic and abiotic factors, the greatest of which is blast disease caused by Magnaporthe oryzae. We surveyed the occurrence, distribution and severity of finger millet blast in five counties, namely, Busia, Bungoma, Kisii, Machakos and Makueni, in Kenya. Blast disease occurrence was determined by observing disease symptoms of different plant parts on each farm, and symptoms were recorded as either present or absent. Severity was evaluated based on the disease symptoms on plant fingers, leaves and necks and generally at the whole farm scale. Distribution was assessed based on the number of farms sampled for blast per county, and global positioning systems coordinates were recorded. Blast occurrence was 100%, with a uniform distribution pattern on all the farms surveyed across all the counties. Busia County had the highest disease severity at 82.3%, while Makueni had the lowest severity at 61%. Pearson’s correlation test revealed no statistically significant correlation between blast severity and plant parts infected (p< 0.05), with Busia (74.2%) having the highest number of plants showing symptoms of blast on fingers, followed by Bungoma (57.1%), Makueni (57%), Machakos (56%) and Kisii, 53.3%. This study reveals that finger millet blast is rampant in all the counties surveyed and is widely distributed in Kenya. This information is helpful in understanding the geographical distribution, occurrence and severity of M. oryzae.

 

Key words: Finger millet blast, occurrence, severity, distribution, Magnaporthe oryzae.