Maize cob rot caused by Fusarium graminearum and Stenocarpella maydis affects grain yield and quality. The objective of this study was to investigate the appropriateness of multiple infection as a selection and breeding strategy for multiple resistance to F. graminearum and S. maydis. Twelve tropical inbred lines with varying resistance to either or both pathogens were mated in a full diallel and the progeny and their parents evaluated for reaction to single or multiple infection. Under multiple inoculation, S. maydis suppressed colonization of cobs by F. graminearum. General combining ability (GCA) effects indicated that inbred WL 118–10 effectively transmitted resistance to both diseases. Hybrids’ resistant to S. maydis was also resistant to F. graminearum, but the reverse was not true. Therefore, efficient screening should initially involve screening for S. maydis followed by F. graminearum. Overall, the suppression of F. graminearum by S. maydis shows that multiple infection cannot be used as an appropriate breeding strategy to obtain multiple resistance. The use of F. graminearum and S. maydis separately is, therefore, the best breeding strategy.
Date of publication:
RUFORUM Journal Articles