Seed-borne fungi of cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp] and their possible control in vitro using locally available fungicides in Botswana.
Author(s): Khare K.B, Loeto D., Wale K. and Salani M
Seeds of three cowpea cultivars namely Black eye, ER 7 and Tswana obtained from the Department of Agriculture Research, Gaborone were tested for the presence of seed-borne fungi, and their possible control in vitro using locally available fungicides. Four hundred fifty seeds of each cultivar of cowpea were disinfected with 2% sodium hypochlorite solution for 10 min and washed three times with sterile distilled water before placing them in PDA plates (5 seeds/9 cm Petri plate), incubated at 22±2o C for 12 hour each under continuous light and dark. A total of eight fungi were detected from seeds of cowpea. These were Aspergillus flavus, A. niger, Cylindrocarpon sp., Fusarium equisiti, F. oxyaporum, Penicillium chyrosogenum, Rhizopus oligosporus and R. stolonifer. Rhizopus spp. were dominant fungi recovered from seeds, followed by Penicillium, Aspergillus, Fusarium and Cylindrocarpon. The fungi detected resulted in decay and rotting of seeds, and thereby reducing percentage germination of seeds (22%, 37% and 63 % seed germination in Black eye, ER7 and Tswana varieties of cowpea respectively). Out of four fungicides tested, benlate, captan, dithane M 45 and chlorothalanil. Dithane M45 effectively controlled seed-borne fungi, and enhanced seed germination to an average of 86% (93% germination with no fungi detected in Tswana variety) as compared to chlorothalonile (79%), benlate and captan (77%) and un-treated seeds (45%). The fungal incidence was reduced to 2.3%, 4.3%, 5.3% and 5.3% when seeds were treated with dithane M-45, chlorothalonil, benlate and captan respectively as compared to 62% in non-treated seeds.
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