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Screening of Finger Millet (Eleusine coracana) Germplasm for the Blast Disease-Resistance in Sri Lanka


W. M. R. Kumari ,

Fruit Research and Development Institute, Horana, LK
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D. K. N. G. Pushpakumara,

University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, LK
About D. K. N. G.
Faculty of Agriculture
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W. M. W. Weerakoon,

Food and Agriculture Organization, Colombo 07, LK
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D. M. J. B. Senanayake,

Rice Research and Development Institute, Bathalegoda, LK
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H. D. Upadhyaya

University of Georgia, Athens GA 30605, US
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Finger millet is the third important cereal crop in Sri Lanka, mostly cultivated in rainfed uplands in dry and intermediate zones. Blast disease (leaf, finger, and neck blast) caused by Magnaporthe grisea is economically devastating to rice and finger millet worldwide. Host resistance is the most viable option for managing the disease as it is mainly grown in low-input systems. One hundred thirty-nine finger millet accessions collected from the Plant Genetic Resources Center in Sri Lanka were field screened for leaf blast disease in three seasons under artificial inoculation at the Field Crops Research and Development Institute at Mahailluppallama, Sri Lanka. The results revealed that almost all the tested accessions were susceptible to leaf blast at the early seedling stage. However, 5–6 weeks after sowing, the severity of leaf blast disease decreased drastically, and all the germplasm were resistant or moderately resistant. The finger blast and neck blast severity, scored under natural infection, was low under both high and low-density planting. Seven and 87 finger millet accessions consistently showed immune reactions for finger blast and neck blast, respectively. A negative correlation was observed between the days to flowering and blast disease. The early flowering accessions, namely, Ac12968 and Ac2384 from Jaffna, TVFM, 13-1, TVFM-04, and TVFM-02 from Killinochchi, showed a higher severity score for leaf, finger, and neck blast compared to other accessions. A significant positive correlation (P<0.05) was found between finger blast and neck blast, however, these two diseases did not show a significant correlation (P>0.05) with leaf blast.

How to Cite: Kumari, W.M.R., Pushpakumara, D.K.N.G., Weerakoon, W.M.W., Senanayake, D.M.J.B. and Upadhyaya, H.D., 2022. Screening of Finger Millet (Eleusine coracana) Germplasm for the Blast Disease-Resistance in Sri Lanka. Tropical Agricultural Research, 33(4), pp.339–349. DOI:
Published on 01 Oct 2022.
Peer Reviewed


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