Screening of pepper varieties and accessions for resistance to anthracnose and management of seed-borne pathogens of pepper

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August, 2012
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Three main studies including a survey was conducted in two pepper growing communities in the Ashanti Region namely Ofoase-Kokoben and Konongo-Obenemasi to assess farmers’ perception and knowledge of the anthracnose disease by the use of structured questionnaires. Laboratory experiments took place at the Plant Pathology Laboratories of Faculty of Agriculture, KNUST, Kumasi and Crop Research Institute, Fumesua. Detection of fungi on pepper seed samples from farmers in Ofoase-Kokoben and Konongo-Obenemasi communities was done by direct plating on moist blotters in the laboratory. The efficacies of three botanical extracts namely garlic, ginger and neem, were also tested alongside Mancozeb, a synthetic fungicide for the control of seed-borne pathogens of pepper. Resistance of pepper accessions (CRI OO5, CRI 007 and CRI K82) and varieties (Shito adope, Legon 18, Meko hwam, Ohene nsatea and African bird’s eye) were evaluated in an anthracnose disease hotspot both in the minor and major seasons. The African bird’s eye was used as the check. Analysis of the questionnaires showed that, 72.5 % of farmers in the studied communities perceived anthracnose disease as one of the major diseases affecting pepper production. The farmers do not use certified seeds; about 75 % used seeds saved from previous harvest, 20 % used seeds obtained from friends and 5 % obtained their pepper seeds from the local markets. They do not treat their seeds before sowing. Nine genera of fungi including 12 species were identified from the pepper seed samples collected. Colletotrichum capsici and C. gloeosporoides were found to be associated with the anthracnose disease in the studied community. However, C. capsici was found to be the most predominant. Soaking the pepper seeds for 24 h in garlic extract was very effective as mancozeb in controlling Colletotrichum species present on the seeds. The results gathered from the screening of the accessions and varieties on the field also showed that, all the accessions and varieties were not resistant to the disease. Breeding for resistance is, therefore, necessary to increase farmers’ income and to ensuring food security. Further research involving the evaluation of a greater number of varieties and accessions from breeding programmes is also necessary if resistant varieties are to be identified for pepper production in Ghana.
Dissertation submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana, in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the award of Master of Science in Crop Protection (Plant Pathology)