Brazilian researchers make breakthrough about key sugarcane disease

June 14, 2021 |

In Brazil, the fungus Fusarium verticillioides is one of the causes of red rot, the most serious sugarcane disease. Losses average around $1 billion per harvest in Brazil alone. 

The traditional approach to the etiology of this disease is that it is triggered by Diatraea saccharalis, a moth usually referred to as the sugarcane borer. In the caterpillar stage, this insect bores into the stem of the plant, which is later infected opportunistically by the fungus.

However, a study conducted in Brazil by the University of São Paulo’s Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture (ESALQ-USP) has turned this model upside down, showing that the trigger is not the insect but the fungus.

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Category: Research

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