Basal Stem Rot: Fungi
- 25 Jan 2022
- 2 min read
Why in News
Researchers from Kerala have identified two new species of fungi from the genus Ganoderma that are associated with coconut stem rot disease.
- The two fungi species are Ganoderma keralense and G. pseudoapplanatum.
- The butt rot or basal stem rot of coconut is known by several names in different parts of India: Ganoderma wilt (Andhra Pradesh), Anaberoga (Karnataka) and Thanjavur wilt (Tamil Nadu), to mention a few.
- The infection begins at the roots, but symptoms include discolouration and rotting of stem and leaves. In the later stages, flowering and nut set decreases and finally the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) dies.
- A reddish brown oozing is seen. This oozing has been reported only in India.
- Once infected, recovery of the plants is not likely. Not surprising then, that this causes a huge loss: By some estimates made in 2017, in India, around 12 million people are said to depend on coconut farming.
- Another sign of infection is presence of shelf-like “basidiomata,” which are the fruiting or reproductive structures of the fungus, on the tree trunks.
- Fungi can be single celled or very complex multicellular organisms.
- They are found in just about any habitat but most live on the land, mainly in soil or on plant material rather than in sea or freshwater.
- A group called the decomposers grow in the soil or on dead plant matter where they play an important role in the cycling of carbon and other elements.
- Some are parasites of plants causing diseases such as mildews, rusts, scabs or canker.
- A very small number of fungi cause diseases in animals. In humans these include skin diseases such as athletes’ foot, ringworm and thrush.