Maize farming efforts to improve food security and safety in Africa

plant disease (2022). DOI: 10.1094/PDIS-12-21-2788-RE” width=”800″ height=”311″/>

A, B corn leaves, plated on 6-benzyl aminopurine modified technical agar in a crisper box before inoculation. This loose leaf test allows evaluation of plant-pathogen interactions for up to 30 days. Credit: Plant disease (2022). DOI: 10.1094/PDIS-12-21-2788-RE

Over 300 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) depend on corn for nearly 30% of their calorie intake, and the popularity of corn is expected to continue its upward trend (IITA). As the demand for corn increases, so does the need for sustainable and safe production, yet numerous biotic and abiotic stressors threaten this staple crop in the SSA.

Researchers from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria conducted a recent study to combat these threats. The study, just published in Plant diseaseoffers a promising strategy to protect food security and corn safety in the SSA.

Faith Bankole and colleagues set out to find maize cultivars that are resistant to multiple diseases, which would benefit smallholder farmers and increase the production of quality maize for food and feed. Using rapid, efficient, and inexpensive laboratory methods, they screened over 100 maize genotypes for resistance to foliar disease and aflatoxin contamination, finding seven early maturing (EM) and six extra early maize (EEM) lines with a superior resistance to three major pathogens, plus ten blood relatives with resistance who also had significantly reduced aflatoxin accumulation.

The multiple disease resistance (MDR) EM and EEM inbreds discovered in this study are being tested extensively in hybrid combinations. Hybrids with good agronomic characteristics, high yield and MDR will be released for commercialization. Small farmers implementing the use of these corn hybrids can reliably produce larger and safer crops.

Inbred to well-fed: sforzi di allevamento del mais per migliorare la sicurezza alimentare e la sicurezza in AfricaPlant disease (2022). DOI: 10.1094/PDIS-12-21-2788-RE”/>

Representative reactions of maize inbreds to three foliar pathogens (Exserohilum turcicum, Bipolaris maydis, and Curvularia lunata) using the detached leaf test. Inbreds were classified as follows: HR = highly resistant, R = resistant, MR = moderately resistant, S = susceptible, and HS = highly susceptible. Photographs were taken 10 days after inoculation. Inbreds in the E. turcicum row from left to right are TZEI 56, TZEI 32, TZEI 1, TZEI 120 and TZEI 134; those in the B. maydis row are TZEEI 63, TZEEI 75, TZEEI 79, TZEEI 38 and TZEEI 67; and those in the C. lunata row are TZEI 56, TZEI 51, TZEI 1, TZEI 17 and TZEI 134. Credit: Plant disease (2022). DOI: 10.1094/PDIS-12-21-2788-RE

‘Both EM and EEM maize germplasm were not exploited as potential sources of resistance to multiple diseases,’ comments corresponding author Alejandro Ortega-Beltran. “Our results demonstrate that these genotypes can contribute significantly to breeding programs to address multiple diseases, benefiting tropical and subtropical regions.”

According to the authors, large-scale use of these maize genotypes has the potential to increase safe maize yield and productivity, as well as reduce losses caused by aflatoxin contamination, ultimately contributing to human health and livelihoods in SSA. .

More information:
Faith A. Bankole et al, Identifying inbred lines of early and extra early maturing tropical maize with resistance to multiple diseases for increased maize production and productivity in sub-Saharan Africa, Plant disease (2022). DOI: 10.1094/PDIS-12-21-2788-RE

Provided by the American Phytopathological Society

Citation: Inbred to well-fed: Maize farming efforts to improve food security and safety in Africa (2022, Nov. 16) Retrieved Nov. 16, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-11- inbred-well-fed-maize -food-efforts.html

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