, Volume 63, Issue 1–2, pp 85–93 | Cite as

Resistance of cowpea and cereals to the parasitic angiospermStriga

  • J. A. Lane
  • J. A. Bailey


Striga species are parasitic angiosperms that attack many crops grown by subsistence farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and India. Control of the parasite is difficult and genetically resistant crops are the most feasible and appropriate solution. In cowpea, complete resistance toStriga gesnerioides has been identified. Breeding for resistance in sorghum has identified varieties with good resistance toS. asiatica in Africa and India. One variety was also resistant toS. hermonthica in W. Africa. No such resistance toStriga has been found in maize or millets.

Resistant varieties have usually been sought by screening germplasm in fields naturally infested withStriga. However, laboratory techniques have also been developed, including anin vitro growth system used to screen cowpeas for resistance toS. gesnerioides. Two new sources of resistance in cowpea have been identified using the system. The technique has also been used to investigate the mechanisms of resistance in this crop. Two mechanisms have been characterised, both were expressed after penetration of cowpea roots by the parasite.

The resistance of some sorghum varieties toStriga is controlled by recessive genes. In cowpea, resistance toStriga is controlled by single dominant genes. The genes for resistance are currently being transferred to cowpea varieties which are high yielding or adapted to local agronomic conditions. OneStriga resistant cowpea variety, Suvita-2, is already being grown widely by farmers in Mali. Reports of ‘breakdown’ of resistance in cowpea toStriga have not yet been confirmed, but a wider genetic base to the resistance is essential to ensure durability ofStriga resistance.

Key words

breeding for resistance cowpea parasitic angiosperm resistance mechanisms sorghum Striga Vigna unguiculata Sorghum bicolor 



International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics


International Institute of Tropical Agriculture


Long Ashton Research Station


Semi-Arid Food Grain Research and Development


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aggarwal, V.D., 1991. Research on cowpea-Striga resistance at IITA. In: S.K., Kim (Ed.), CombatingStriga in Africa, pp. 90–95. IITA, Ibadan.Google Scholar
  2. Aggarwal, V.D., S.D., Haley & F.E., Brockman, 1986. Present status of breeding cowpeas for resistance toStriga at IITA. In: S.J.ter, Borg (Ed.), Proceedings of a workshop on biology and control ofOrobanche, pp. 176–180. LH/VPO, Wageningen.Google Scholar
  3. Aggarwal, V.D. & J.T., Ouedraogo, 1989. Estimation of cowpea yield loss fromStriga infestation. Trop. Agric. 66: 91–92.Google Scholar
  4. Anon., 1991a. The SAFGRAD Networks. Serving National Agricultural Research Systems and Food Grain Farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. OAU/STRC-SAFGRAD, Ouagadougou.Google Scholar
  5. Anon., 1991b. Semi-Arid Tropics News, ICRISAT 8: 3.Google Scholar
  6. Ejta, G., L.G., Butler, D.E., Hess & R.K., Vogler, 1991. Genetic and breeding strategies forStriga resistance in sorghum. In: J.K., Ransom, L.J., Musselman, A.D., Worsham & C., Parker (Eds.), Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium of Parasitic Weeds, pp. 539–544. CIMMYT, Nairobi.Google Scholar
  7. Emechebe, A.M., B.B., Singh, O.I., Leleji, I.D.K., Atokple & J.K., Adu, 1991. Cowpea-Striga problems and research in Nigeria. In: S.K., Kim (Ed.), CombatingStriga in Africa, pp. 18–28. IITA, Ibadan.Google Scholar
  8. Kim, S.K., 1991. Breeding maize forStriga tolerance and the development of a field infestation technique. CombatingStriga in Africa, pp. 96–108. IITA, Ibadan.Google Scholar
  9. Lagoke, S.T.O., J.Y., Shebayan, G., Weber, O., Olufajo, K., Elemo, J.K., Adu, A.M., Emechebe, B.B., Singh, A., Zaria, A., Awad, L., Ngawa, G.O., Olaniyan, S.O., Olfare & A.A., Adeoti, 1991. Survey ofStriga problem and evaluation ofStriga control methods and packages in the Nigerian savannah. Report of the FAO-IARStriga project, IAR, Ahmadu-Bello University, Zaria.Google Scholar
  10. Lane, J.A., 1989. Prospects for the control ofStriga, a noxious parasitic weed of tropical crops. Rural Dev. Pract. 1: 9–10.Google Scholar
  11. Lane, J.A. & J.A., Bailey, 1991. Resistance of cowpea toStriga gesnerioides. In: K., Wegmann & W., Forstreuter (Eds.), Progress inOrobanche research. Proceedings of the International Workshop onOrobanche Research, Obermarchtal 1989, pp. 344–350. Erberhard-Karls-Universität, Tubingen.Google Scholar
  12. Lane, J.A., J.A., Bailey & P.J., Terry, 1991a. Anin vitro growth system for studying the parasitism of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) byStriga gesnerioides. Weed Res. 31: 211–217.Google Scholar
  13. Lane, J.A., M.J., Kershaw, T.H.M., Moore, D.V., Child, P.J., Terry & J.A., Bailey, 1991b. Anin vitro system to investigate the parasitism of cereals byStriga species and resistance of cowpea toAlectra vogelii. In: J.K., Ransom, L.J., Musselman, A.D., Worsham & C., Parker (Eds.), Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium of Parasitic Weeds, pp. 237–240. CIMMYT, Nairobi.Google Scholar
  14. Maiti, R.K., K.V., Ramaiah, S.S., Bisen & V.L., Chidley, 1984. A comparative study of the haustorial development ofStriga asiatica (L.) Kuntze on sorghum cultivars. Ann. Bot. 54: 447–457.Google Scholar
  15. Obilana, A.T., 1984. Interitance of resistance toStriga (Striga hermonthica Benth.) in sorghum. Protec. Ecol. 7: 305–311.Google Scholar
  16. Obilana, A.T.,, Milliano & A.M., Mbwaga, 1991.Striga research in sorghum and millets in Southern Africa: status and host plant resistance. In: J.K., Ransom, L.J., Musselman, A.D., Worsham & C., Parker (Eds.), Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium of Parasitic Weeds, pp. 435–441. CIMMYT, Nairobi.Google Scholar
  17. Olivier, A., N., Benhamou & G.D., Leroux, 1991a. Cell surface interactions between sorghum roots and the parasitic weedStriga hermonthica: cytochemical aspects of cellulose distribution in resistant and susceptible host tissues. Can. J. Bot. 69: 1679–1690.Google Scholar
  18. Olivier, A., K.V., Ramaiah & G.D., Leroux, 1991b. Selection of sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) varieties resistant to the parasitic weedStriga hermonthica. Weed Res. 31: 219–225.Google Scholar
  19. Parker, C., 1991. Protection of crops against parasitic weeds. Crop Protec. 10: 6–22.Google Scholar
  20. Parker, C. & N., Dixon, 1983. The use of polyethylene bags in the culture and study ofStriga spp. and other organisms on crop roots. Ann. Appl. Biol. 103: 485–488.Google Scholar
  21. Parker, C. & T.I., Polniaszek, 1990. Parasitism of cowpea byStriga gesnerioides: variation in virulence and discovery of a new source of host resistance. Ann. Appl. Biol. 116: 305–311.Google Scholar
  22. Parker, C. & A.K., Wilson, 1983.Striga-resistance identified in semi-wild ‘shibra’ millet (Pennisetum sp.). Med. Fac. Land. Rijks. Univ. Gent 48: 1111–1117.Google Scholar
  23. Press, M.C., J.D., Graves & G.R., Stewart, 1991. Physiology of the interaction of angiosperm parasites and their higher plant hosts. Plant Cell Environ. 13: 91–104.Google Scholar
  24. Parseglove, J.W., 1968. Tropical Crops, Dicotyledons. Longmans, London.Google Scholar
  25. Kamaiah, K.V., 1987. Breeding cereal grains for resistance to witchweed. In: L.J., Musselman (Ed.), Parasitic Weeds in Agriculture. Vol. 1.Striga, pp 227–242. CRC Press, Boca Raton.Google Scholar
  26. Ramaiah, K.V., V.L., Chidley & L.R., House, 1990. Inheritance ofStriga seed-germination stimulant in sorghum. Euphytica 45: 33–38.Google Scholar
  27. Ransom, J.K., R.E., Eplee & M.A., Langston, 1990. Genetic variability for resistance toStriga asiatica in maize. Cereal Res. Commun. 18: 329–333.Google Scholar
  28. Sauerborn, J., 1991. The economic importance of the phytoparasitesOrobanche andStriga. In: J.K., Ransom, L.J., Musselman, A.D., Worsham & C., Parker (Eds.), Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium of Parasitic Weeds, pp. 137–143. CIMMYT, Nairobi.Google Scholar
  29. Singh, B.B. & A.M., Emechebe, 1990. Inheritance ofStriga resistance in cowpea genotype B301. Crop Sci. 30: 879–881.Google Scholar
  30. Singh, B.B. & A.M., Emechebe, 1991. Breeding for resistance inStriga andAlectra in cowpea. In: J.K., Ransom, L.J., Musselman, A.D., Worsham & C., Parker (Eds.), Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium of Parasitic Weeds, pp. 303–305. CIMMYT, Nairobi.Google Scholar
  31. Smart, J., 1990. Grain Legumes: Evolution and Genetic Resources. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  32. Vaidya, P.K., B., Raghavender & S.Z., Mukuru, 1991. Progress in breeding resistance toStriga asiatica in sorghum at the ICRISAT Centre. In: S.K., Kim (Ed.), CombatingStriga in Africa, pp. 81–89. IITA, Ibadan.Google Scholar
  33. Vasudeva Rao, M.J., 1987. Techniques for screening sorghums for resistance toStriga. In: L.J., Musselman (Ed.), Parasitic Weeds in Agriculture. Vol. 1.Striga, pp. 281–304. CRC Press, Boca Raton.Google Scholar
  34. Vasudeva Rao, M.J., P.K., Vaidya, V.L., Chidley, S.Z., Mukuru & L.R., House, 1989. Registration of ‘ICSV 145’Striga asiatica resistant sorghum cultivar. Crop Sci. 29: 488–489.Google Scholar
  35. Visser, J.H., I., Dörr & R., Kollmann, 1977. On the parasitism ofAlectra vogelii Benth. (Scrophulariaceae). 1. Early development of the haustorium and initiation of the stem. J. Plant Physiol. 84: 213–222.Google Scholar
  36. Wood, R.K.S., 1982. Active Defense Mechanisms in Plants. Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. A. Lane
    • 1
  • J. A. Bailey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Bristol, AFRC Institute of Arable Crops ResearchLong Ashton Research StationBristolUK

Personalised recommendations