Rhynchosporium commune

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Rhynchosporium commune symptoms on barley (click on image to enlarge it)
Source: Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series - IPM Images

Rhynchosporium commune Zaffarano, B.A. McDonald & Linde 2011

Rhynchosporium commune symptoms on barley (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Mary Burrows, Montana State University
IPM Images

The fungus causes leaf blotch (or scald) in barley. It is common in cool and semi-dry areas and characterized by large, oval and irregular leaf lesions. The lesions are initially pale grey and later acquire broad and dark brown margins (the leaves look "scalded"). The infected leaves may die and the heads may also become infected. Yield losses of up to 40% and a reduced grain quality have been reported. Although the disease incidence is typically below 10% this translates into a yearly economic loss of millions of US$ for many countries.

It also infects other species of Hordeum as well as the weed Bromus diandrus. Under cool and moist conditions, conidia are produced which disperse by wind and rain splashes. It overwinters in plant residues, volunteer barley and weedy host plants. The fungus is also seed-borne. Management options include removing infected plant debris by ploughing, the use of fungicides as well as resistant cultivars. For a review see Avrova and Knogge, 2012.

The fungus produces unique beak-shaped, one-septate conidia which are approximately 15-20 µm long. They are released from both sides of the leaves. Genetic evidence suggests that it undergoes sexual reproduction. However, ascospores have not been described.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Rhynchosporium Blattfleckenkrankheit
• English: leaf blotch
barley scald
leaf scald
• Français: taches pâle de l'orge
rhynchosporiose
taches brunes de l'orge

Taxonomic note: Before 2011, this fungus was referred to as Rhynchosporium secalis, a closely related species infecting rye which is morphologically indistinguishable.