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Thecaphora Smut

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

(Cased by Thecaphora (Angiosorus) solani )

Potato smut is restricted to the tropical regions of the America. It occurs in cool highlands and irrigated coastal deserts, where it may cause serious problems. Little is known about its biology.
Extreme care must be taken to avoid spreading the disease. Therefore, do not move infected tubers or infested soil to disease-free areas. Occurrence of this disease should be carefully recorded.

Symptoms of Thecaphora Smut

thecaphora-smutSymptoms are tuber-like outgrowths of stems and stolons that contain numerous small cavities filled with brown to black spores.
Potatoes tubers may contain small, inconspicuous superficial pustules with a few sporefilled cavities or large protuberances.
Single potato plants and even single stolons may carry tuber-like outgrowths as well as healthy-appearing tubers.
After maturity, diseased outgrowths disintegrate rapidly into masses of brown spores.
Certain potato cultivars such as Antarqui show protuberant lesions 3-10 mm in diameter on the tuber surface. A

fter 2-3 months of potatoes storage, these lesions become sunken and subsequently hypertrophied tissues develop in the new sprouts or close to them. Datura stramonium (jimson weed) is a sensitive and propagative host.


Dissemination is probably by infected or contaminated seed and soil. Resistant or tolerant varieties exist. Crop rotations are useful although the fungus persists in fields for many years.

Strict quarantine should be enforced to prevent spreading the disease to new areas. Fumigation of infested soil, complemented with the use of healthy potato seed tubers of resistant potato cultivars, can eliminate the disease.

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