Ergot of sorghum in Japan caused by Claviceps sorghicola
Sorghum is an important forage crop in Japan (28,000 ha) which is mainly cultivated in the south. Ergot of sorghum (caused by Claviceps sorghi or C. africana - EPPO Alert List) is a serious disease which recently expanded from Africa and Asia to the Americas and Australia. In Japan, ergot was first observed in Kyushu in 1985 in sorghum crops, and also on Sudan grass (Sorghum sudanense). In the 1990s, the disease became more widely distributed and began to cause serious damage. After detailed observations of the Japanese ergot, some significant differences in morphological and biochemical characters were noted with C. sorghi and C. africana. The ergot of sorghum present in Japan was described as a new species: Claviceps sorghicola. It is also noted that ergots caused by C. sorghi and C. africana mainly occur on male-sterile sorghum and are a problem in F1 hybrid seed production, whereas C. sorghicola occurs also in commercial fertile sorghum and Sudan grass.
Tsukiboshi, T.; Shimanuki, T.; Uematsu, T. (1999) Claviceps sorghicola sp. nov., a destructive ergot pathogen of sorghum in Japan.
Mycological Research, 103(11), 1403-1408.