Field tolerance of selected varieties to and fungicide efficacy against Alternaria blight of sweet potato
Alternaria blight (AB) of sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.), caused by Alternaria spp., was recently reported in South Africa, but is common in southern and eastern Africa. Elsewhere in the world, AB is controlled primarily using resistant varieties. Twenty-five sweet potato varieties/breeding lines, from different origins were assessed for tolerance to AB. The materials were planted in fields having a history of AB disease and rated for tolerance based on a General Disease Index (GDI), with the lowest scores representing tolerance, and the higher scores representing susceptibility. Variety 199062-1 had the lowest GDI value, and was the most tolerant to AB; while W119 had the highest GDI value and was the most susceptible to the disease. Other varieties/breeding lines showed a variation in GDI values between most tolerant and most susceptible. Among the fungicides tested under field conditions, the mixture azoxystrobin-difenoconazole was the most effective in reducing AB intensity. Fungicides pyraclostrobin-boscalid, unizeb, azoxystrobin-chlorothalonil and cymoxanil-mancozeb were also effective against the disease.
Key Words: Alternaria bataticola, General Disease Index, Ipomoea batatas