Further spread of Claviceps africana in the Americas
The ergot disease of sorghum was initially restricted to Asia and Africa but recently spread to other continents: the Americas and Oceania (Australia) (see EPPO RS 97/031, 97/073). In the Americas, Claviceps africana was first found in Brazil in mid-1995, by 1996 it was also found in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela*. By mid-February 1997, the disease spread to Honduras*, Dominican Republic*, Jamaica*, Puerto Rico* and Mexico*. In March 1997, C. africana was found for the first time in Texas, USA*. The fungus was found on cultivated sorghum and also on Sorghum halepense. Cultivated and wild sorghum species are susceptible to C. africana and it is likely that other grass plants can be hosts. Under epidemic conditions, near Tampico (Mexico), low infections were observed on pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum), but the development of the pathogen appeared limited. Means of entry of C. africana into the Americas is unknown, but the pathogen has the potential for dissemination by sorghum seed contaminated with sclerotia or encrusted by dried honeydew that contain viable macroconida.
* New records
Anonymous (1997) Rapid spread of ergot of sorghum monitored in several fronts.
Phytopathology News, 31(4), p 59.
Odvody, G. (1997) Ergot of sorghum reported in U.S.
Phytopathology News, 31(5), p 75.