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Turmeric: Diseases and Symptoms

Rhizome rot

The disease is soil-borne and rhizomes borne and occurs with the onset of monsoon. This disease mostly occurs during the months of June to September.

Disease symptoms
  • The infection starts at the collar region of the pseudostem and progresses upwards as well as downwards.
  • The collar region of the affected pseudostem becomes water soaked and the rotting spreads to the rhizome resulting in soft rot.
  • At a later stage root infection is also noticed.
  • Foliar symptoms appear as light yellowing of the tips of lower leaves which gradually spreads to the leaf blades.
  • In early stages of the disease, the middle portion of the leaves remain green while the margins become yellow.
  • Later, the yellowing spreads to all leaves of the plant from the lower region upwards and is followed by drooping, withering and drying of pseudostems.
Survival and spread
  • The disease is soil-borne. The fungus multiplies with buildup of soil moisture with the onset of south west monsoon.
  • The fungus can survive in two ways: (a) in diseased rhizomes kept for sowing and (b) through resting structures like chlamydospores and oospores that reach the soil from infected rhizomes.
  • Favourable conditions
  • Younger sprouts are the most susceptible to the pathogen. Nematode infestation aggravates rhizome rot disease.
  • Temperature above 30° C and high soil moisture are the important predisposing factors favouring the disease.
  • Water logging in the field due to poor drainage increases the intensity of the disease.

Leaf spot

Disease is soil-borne noticed on the leaves from July to October.

Disease symptoms
  • Symptom appears as brown spots of various sizes on the upper surface of the young leaves.
  • The spots are irregular in shape and white or grey in the centre.
  • Later, spots may coalesce and form an irregular patch covering almost the whole leaf.
  • The centre of spots contains fruit head shaped fruiting structures.
Survival and spread
  • Disease is soil borne and survives in plant debris.
  • The disease spreads through rain splashes during intermittent showers. The incidence of the disease is severe in turmeric grown under exposed conditions
Favourable conditions
  • High soil moisture, temperature 25° C and leaf wetness.

Leaf blotch

Disease symptoms
  • Disease symptom appears as small, oval, rectangular or irregular brown spots on either side of the leaves which soon become dirty yellow or dark brown.
  • The leaves also turn yellow.
  • In severe cases the plants present a scorched appearance and the rhizome yield is reduced.
Survival and spread
  • Soil and seed borne and survive in soil on infected plant debris.
Favourable conditions
  • High soil moisture, temperature 25O C and leaf wetness

Dry rot

Disease symptoms
  • The disease causes root rot and rhizome rot resulting in typical dry rot of rhizomes from October onwards.
  • The affected rhizomes appear soft and shrunken to start with, later dry up and become hard.
  • Foliar yellowing and drying up of foliage which are the normal symptoms of maturity of the crop during October - November would be indistinguishable from the symptoms of the disease affected clumps.
  • When infected rhizomes are cut open, the infected zones typically appear as dull brown and dark.
Survival and spread
  • The pathogen is facultative parasites and lives as a saprophyte on the organic matter in the soil for several years.
  • It spreads from vulnerable plants
Favourable conditions
  • The disease is favoured by 35° C soil temperature, 15-20 per cent soil moisture and alluvial or sandy soils.

Bacterial wilt

Disease symptoms
  • Rapid wilting and death of the entire plant without any yellowing or spotting of leaves are the characteristic symptom.
  • All branches wilt at about the same time.
  • When the stem of a wilted plant is cut across, the pith has a darkened, water-soaked appearance.
  • Greyish slimy ooze comes out on pressing the stem.
  • In later stages of the disease, decay of the pith may cause extensive hollowing of the stem.
Favourable conditions
  • The bacterium is especially destructive in moist soils at temperatures above 24° C.
  • High soil temperature and moisture are favourable for disease.

IPM for Turmeric

To know the IPM practices for Turmeric, click here.

Source: NIPHM and Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine & Storage



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