First report of Ustilago scitaminea in Australia
On 20th of July 1998, Ustilago scitaminea (sugarcane smut) was reported in a commercial sugarcane field in the Ord River District in Western Australia (Australia). Surveys are being conducted to assess the extent of the disease, and U. scitaminea has been detected on 14 sugarcane crops. Two of the crops showed disease incidence levels of approximately 5%, other crops showed incidence of 1 % or lower. Eradication measures are being taken. U. scitaminea is a rather widespread fungus which is present in many countries where sugarcane is grown (CABI, 1991). However, according to the EPPO Secretariat this is the first report of U. scitaminea in Australia. (EPPO note: a recent introduction had also been reported from Morocco, see EPPO RS 97/071).
Roberts, B. (1998) Detection of sugarcane smut in the Ord River irrigation District, Kununurra (Western Australia)
OCPPO Alert of 3 August 1998, State department of Agriculture and Industry, Australia.
CABI map No. 79, 6th edition (1991), CABI International, Wallingford, UK