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Distribution, Etiology, Molecular Genetics and Management Perspectives of Northern Corn Leaf Blight of Maize (Zea mays L.)

M. Ashraf Ahangar1, Shabir Hussain Wani1,*, Zahoor A. Dar2, Jan Roohi1, Fayaz Mohiddin1, Monika Bansal3, Mukesh Choudhary4, Sumit K. Aggarwal4, S. A. Waza1, Khursheed Ahmad Dar5, Ayman El Sabagh6,7, Celaleddin Barutcular8, Omer Konuşkan9, Mohammad Anwar Hossain10,*
1 Mountain Research Centre for Field Crops, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, 192124, India
2 Dry Land Agriculture Research Station Rangreth, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir, Jammu & Kashmir, 191132, India
3 School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, 141001, India
4 Indian Institute of Maize Research, PAU Campus, Ludhiana, 141001, India
5 College of Temperate Sericulture, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir, Jammu & Kashmir, 191132, India
6 Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, Kafrelsheikh University, Kafr El-Sheikh, 33516, Egypt
7 Department of Field Crops, Faculty of Agriculture, Siirt University, Siirt, 56100, Turkey
8 Department of Field Crops, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Çukurova, Adana, 01330, Turkey
9 Department of Field Crops, Faculty of Agriculture, Hatay Mustafa Kemal University, Hatay, 31060, Turkey
10 Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh, 2202, Bangladesh
* Corresponding Authors: Shabir Hussain Wani. Email: shabirhwani@skuastkashmir.ac.in; Mohammad Anwar Hossain. Email: anwargpb@bau.edu.bd

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany https://doi.org/10.32604/phyton.2022.020721

Received 08 December 2021; Accepted 23 March 2022; Published online 26 April 2022


Maize is cultivated extensively throughout the world and has the highest production among cereals. However, Northern corn leaf blight (NCLB) disease caused by Exherohilum turcicum, is the most devastating limiting factor of maize production. The disease causes immense losses to corn yield if it develops prior or during the tasseling and silking stages of crop development. It has a worldwide distribution and its development is favoured by cool to moderate temperatures with high relative humidity. The prevalence of the disease has increased in recent years and new races of the pathogen have been reported worldwide. The fungus E. turcicum is highly variable in nature. Though different management strategies have proved effective to reduce economic losses from NCLB, the development of varieties with resistance to E. turcicum is the most efficient and inexpensive way for disease management. Qualitative resistance for NCLB governed by Ht genes is a race-specific resistance which leads to a higher level of resistance. However, some Ht genes can easily become ineffective under the high pressure of virulent strains of the pathogen. Hence, it is imperative to understand and examine the consistency of the genomic locations of quantitative trait loci for resistance to NCLB in diverse maize populations. The breeding approaches for pyramiding resistant genes against E. turcicum in maize can impart NCLB resistance under high disease pressure environments. Furthermore, the genome editing approaches like CRISPR-cas9 and RNAi can also prove vital for developing NCLB resistant maize cultivars. As such this review delivers emphasis on the importance and current status of the disease, racial spectrum of the pathogen, genetic nature and breeding approaches for resistance and management strategies of the disease in a sustainable manner.


Northern corn leaf blight; etiology; Exherohilum turcicum; pathogenic variability; disease resistance; management strategies
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