Dieback and anthracnose (fruit rot) are two major chili plant diseases. The dieback disease causes the plant to wilt and dry up, eventually leading to the death of the plant. On the other hand, anthracnose is a fruit rot disease that affects the fruit of the chili plant. It causes dark, sunken lesions on the fruit, which can lead to the complete decay of the fruit.
The main cause of these diseases is the fungus Colletotrichum spp., which thrives in warm and humid conditions. Maintaining sanitation and removing diseased plants and debris from the field helps handle infection. Crop rotation, resistant types, and fungicides are also effective. Proper watering and fertilization also reduce plant stress and disease susceptibility. Farmers should also watch their fields for disease and act soon to prevent it.
Dieback and Anthracnose (Fruit Rot) Management in Chilli
Cause of Dieback and Anthracnose (Fruit Rot)
- Dieback and Anthracnose (Fruit Rot) are caused by the fungus Colletotrichum capsici.
- The fungus grows both inter and intracellularly in the host tissue
- Asexual fruiting bodies, acervuli, contain many brown-colored setae with multiple septa.
- Each acervulus contains many falcate, hyaline conidia with truncated bases.
- Conidia appear pinkish in mass and are borne singly at the tip of conidiophores.
The Disease Cycle of Dieback and Anthracnose (Fruit Rot)
The disease cycle of Dieback and Anthracnose (Fruit Rot) begins with the fungus being seed-borne. Secondary infections occur through the air-borne conidia, which wind-blown rains can spread during the rainy season. Flies and other insects can also spread the spores from one fruit to another. The fungus may not survive long in the soil but can survive on dead twigs stored under dry conditions. Primary inoculum is present in infected seeds and diseased crop debris, while secondary inoculum is dispersed by rain splash and wind-blown conidia.
Favourable Conditions for Dieback and Anthracnose
Dieback and Anthracnose (Fruit Rot) can occur under certain favorable conditions, which include a temperature of 28°C or higher, high humidity with RH of more than 97%, and frequent rainfall. These conditions provide a suitable environment for the fungus to grow and infect the chili plants. In addition, intercropping with turmeric, another fungus host, can increase the risk of infection. Heavy and prolonged dew deposition after the rainy season can also create favorable conditions for the fungus to thrive.