Feb. 17, 2017
Sugarcane forms a major part of Brazilian agriculture. Among the phytosanitary problems that affect the crop are the rusts caused by the fungi Puccinia melanocephala and Puccinia kuhenii. The latter originated in the Asian continent and was detected in Brazil over the past few years.
According to information with the National Association of Vegetable Defense, more and more people and merchandise has been transiting internationally, leading to global dispersion of such rusts through the air, something that could have contributed to this invasion.
Considering the global movements of such plagues and the importance accorded to the crop in Brazil, constant surveillance to check any new avenues of invasion is imperative.
In January 2017, the journal ‘Australasian Plant Pathology’ published a description of Macruropyxis fulva, a fungus that causes rust in sugarcane. The samples had originated in the south of the African continent and consisted of leaves that reflected the symptoms of rust on both faces. But this rust had characteristics different from other rusts that affect this crop.
A comparison of molecular samples of the various fungi species confirmed that it was a new species. Besides sugarcane, Macruropyxis fulva was reported to have been developing on the grass Miscanthus ecklonii. From what is known so far, it is restricted to Swaziland and South Africa.