Plant Pathology Department


Date of this Version

April 2006


Published in Plant Disease /April 2006.


White sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) grain from tan plants is more desirable for human or animal consumption. Colonization by Fusarium and Alternaria spp. was assessed for near-isogenic lines differing in wound response (purple or tan) and pericarp color (red or white) in field-grown grain and in greenhouse-grown plants. Seeds were screened on a semi-selective medium for Alternaria and Fusarium. Significantly fewer fungal colonies were obtained from tan plants with white seed, and fewer numbers of Alternaria colonies were obtained from white seed, regardless of plant color, from an irrigated field, while there were no differences in fungal composition of seeds grown at a nonirrigated field. Screening of seed from the nonirrigated field on Fusarium semi-selective medium yielded fewer Fu.surium isolations from seed grown on purple plants compared with seed from tan plants. When inoculated with Alternaria sp. and Fusarium, there can be no differences in lesion lengths on tan/ white plants when compared with purple/red plants in most assays; in one assay, tan/white plants had smaller lesion lengths following inoculation with F: moniliforme. These results suggest that plants with white seeds were as resistant as plants with the red pericarp trait to colonization by Alternaria and Fusarium spp. However, the results also suggest that under appropriate environmental conditions seed from tan plants may be more susceptible to Fusarium spp. than seed from purple plants.