, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 485–499 | Cite as

Integrating resistance and tolerance for improved evaluation of sorghum lines against Fusarium stalk rot and charcoal rot

  • Y. M. A. Y. Bandara
  • R. Perumal
  • C. R. LittleEmail author


Stalk rots are major fungal diseases of sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] worldwide and cause significant economic loss. Conventionally, the length of stem lesions, produced by Fusarium thapsinum (FT; Fusarium stalk rot) and Macrophomina phaseolina (MP; charcoal rot), are measured to assess the degree of plant resistance. Genotypes with shorter lesion length (LL) are more resistant and expected to exhibit improved yield compared to susceptible genotypes. However, recent reports reveal inconsistent correlations between yield and LL, demonstrating the inadequacy of LL to predict yield under disease pressure. In this study, a new resistance-tolerance index (Index RT ) was used to rank 36 advanced sorghum male sterility maintainers (B-lines). Index RT was formulated in such a way that a lower index value indicates increased disease resistance and reduced yield loss (i.e., greater tolerance) and vice-versa after infection. When ranked by LL, ARCH11035B, -11025B and -11011B were the best performing lines against Fusarium stalk rot, whereas the same lines ranked 1, 3, and 9, respectively, using Index RT . Similarly, ARCH11018B, -11010B and -11014B had the lowest LLs respectively against charcoal rot, whereas the same lines were ranked 1, 4, and 30, respectively, based upon Index RT . The LL- or Index RT -dependent ranking differences of certain lines such as FT-inoculated ARCH11011B and MP-inoculated ARCH11014B indicated the effectiveness of deploying Index RT for better evaluating sorghum lines against stalk rot diseases. There was no significant correlation between LL and Index RT , revealing the independence of the two ranking systems. It is anticipated that this novel stalk rot screening procedure could be deployed by sorghum breeders for improved selection of parental lines.


Sorghum bicolor Fusarium thapsinum Stalk Rot Macrophomina phaseolina Charcoal Rot Disease Resistance Disease Tolerance 



The authors wish to thank the Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission, United Sorghum Checkoff Program, and the K-State Center for Sorghum Improvement for funding this work. This paper is Contribution No. KAES 13-377-J from the Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station, Manhattan.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y. M. A. Y. Bandara
    • 1
  • R. Perumal
    • 2
  • C. R. Little
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Plant PathologyKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA
  2. 2.Kansas State University, Agricultural Research Center-HaysHaysUSA

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