Journal of
Plant Breeding and Crop Science

  • Abbreviation: J. Plant Breed. Crop Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9758
  • DOI: 10.5897/JPBCS
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 447


Management of major diseases and insect pests of onion and garlic: A comprehensive review

R. K. Mishra
  • R. K. Mishra
  • Division of Biotechnology and Bioresources, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi-110003, India.
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R. K. Jaiswal
  • R. K. Jaiswal
  • Krishi Vigyan Kendra Panna, Jawaharlal Nehru Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya, Madhya Pradesh-488 001, India.
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D. Kumar
  • D. Kumar
  • Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding, Narendra Dev University of Agriculture and Technology, Kumarganj, Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh, India.
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P. R. Saabale
  • P. R. Saabale
  • Indian Institute of Pulses Research (IIPR), Kanpur-204028, India
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A. Singh
  • A. Singh
  • Ram Manohar Lohia Awadh University, Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh, India.
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  •  Received: 11 June 2014
  •  Accepted: 13 June 2014
  •  Published: 01 November 2014


Onion (Allium cepa L.) and garlic (Allium sativum L.) are the most important commercial crops grown all over the world and consumed in various forms. In India, onion and garlic have been under cultivation for the last 5000 years. It is generally used as vegetables, spices or as medicines. India ranks second to China in area and production in both onion and garlic, but ranks 102nd for onion and 74th for garlic in terms of productivity. These crops are generally grown throughout the country especially in the states of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal, Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The onion and garlic crop is attacked by many diseases and insect pests at different crop growth stages which causes considerable losses in yield. Apart from reduction in crop yield, the disease and insect pests also poses harmful effects during harvesting, post harvesting, processing and marketing stages, which lower the quality and export potential of the crops that significantly causes the economic loss. The diseases and insect pests alter the cropping pattern and also affect the local and export markets. The consistent use of chemicals to control the plant diseases and insect pests not only poses a serious threat to the environment and mankind but also slowly build up resistance in the pathogens and insect pests.  Most of the new generation pesticides are systemic in their mode of action which may leads to certain level of toxicity in the plant system and thus resulting health hazards. Further, it disturbs the microbial diversity which is an important part of the ecosystem. All these factors have led to new dimension in research for biological control and integrated approach for the management of plant diseases and insect pests. Important diseases and insect pests affecting the onion and garlic crops along with their management are briefly summarized in the present manuscript.


Key   words: Onion (Allium cepa L.), garlic (Allium sativum L.), Trichoderma viride, bulbs.


Onion (Allium cepa L.) and garlic (Allium sativum L.) is one of the  most  important  commercial  vegetable  crops grown in India and being used as vegetables, spices or as medicines.  The  genus Allium also contains a number of other species variously referred to as onions and cultivated for food, such as the Japanese bunching onion (Allium fistulosum), Egyptian onion (Allium proliferum) and Canada onion (Allium canadense). There are over 600 species of Allium, distributed throughout Europe, North America, Northern Africa and Asia. The bulb of onion consists of swollen bases of green foliage leaves and fleshy scales. These bulb crops are rich in minerals like phosphorous, calcium and carbohydrate. It also contains proteins and Vitamin C. 


The pungency in onion and garlic is due to allyl-propyldisulphide and alinase. Onions contain chemical compounds with potential anti-inflammatory, anticholesterol, anticancer and antioxidant properties, such as quercetin (Slimestad et al., 2007). It has also been reported that garlic extract inhibited vascular calcification in human patients with high blood cholesterol (Durak et al., 2004). The known vasodilative effect of garlic is possibly caused by catabolism of garlic-derived polysulfides to hydrogen sulfide in red blood cells (RBCs), a reaction that is dependent on reduced thiols in or on the RBC membrane. Hydrogen sulfide is an endogenous cardioprotective vascular cell-signaling molecule. The fungicidal and insecticidal properties of onion and garlic are also well identified. In vitro studies have revealed that onion and garlic possesses antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal activity.


In India, onion and garlic have been under cultivation for the last 5000 years. As per FAO (FAOSTAT, 2010), onion is grown in 0.8 million hectares with production of 8.2 million tones and productivity of 101.6 q/ha whereas, garlic is grown in 0.015 million hectares with production of 0.65 million tones and productivity of 43.2 q/ha in India. Maharashtra is the leading state in onion production followed by Uttar Pradesh and Orissa whereas Madhya Pradesh is the major garlic producing state, followed by Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh (Anonymous, 2010). India ranks second to China in area and production in both onion and garlic, but ranks 102nd for onion and 74th for garlic in terms of productivity (FAOSTAT, 2010).


Production and productivity not only depends upon area and cultural practices but also on genotypes, environment, several diseases and insect pests that affect the crop during entire cropping period. There are a number of pathogens and insect pests that attack onionsand garlic plants throughout their developmental stages and significantly reduce the crop yield. The present manuscript  deals with management of major bacterial,fungal, viral and nematode diseases and insect pests of onion and garlic with an emphasis for which effective diseases and insect pests management systems have been put into practice. Brief descriptions of the symptoms are included to assist in identification of the specific diseases and insect pests (Table 1).


The authors have not declared any conflict of interests.


Anonymous (2010). National Horticultural and Research Development Foundation (NHRDF) Database.


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