Agronomy Journal (2017) 109, 1218-1224

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H. Arnold Bruns (2017)
Southern corn leaf blight: A story worth retelling
Agronomy Journal 109 (4), 1218-1224
Abstract: The southern corn (Zea mays L.) leaf blight (SCLB) epidemic of 1970–1971 was one of the most costly disease outbreaks to affect North American agriculture, destroying 15% of the crop at a cost of US$1.0 billion (>$6.0 billion by 2015 standards.). It resulted from an over reliance on cytoplasmic Texas male sterile (cms-T) lines in hybrid seed production and a natural mutation of a race of SCLB Bipolaris maydis that for years was seldom of economic importance. This mutation discovered in the Philippines in 1961 first appeared in the Corn Belt in 1969, damaging not only leaves, but stalks, ears, and developing kernels of hybrids containing cms-T genetics. A favorable environment, combined with >85% of the hybrids grown being of cms-T genetics set the stage for an epidemic. The cms-T was discontinued in 1971 and hybrid seed production returned to using detasseling for the female parent. This serves as warning to the seed production business never to purify the genetics of our crops to such an extent and to preserve genetic diversity.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website

Database assignments for author(s): H. Arnold Bruns

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
population dynamics/ epidemiology

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.
Bipolaris maydis Maize/corn (Zea mays)