Storage rot of seed yam resulting from speargrass injuries

  • A.K. Aidoo
  • S. Arthur
  • G. Bolfrey-Arku
  • K. Osei
  • J.N.L. Lamptey
  • M.B. Mochiah
  • G. Ohene-Mensah
  • F. Frimpong
  • Z. Appiah-Kubi
  • E.O. Danquah
Keywords: Dioscorea, postharvest, rot pathogen, speargrass rhizome


Postharvest rot due to injury is a major contributing factor to the declining quality of stored seed yams (Dioscorea spp.). Among the several known injuries, the piercing effect of speargrass rhizomes has become a serious constraint for yam production in Ghana. The objective of this study was to assess injuries on seed yams resulting from piercing of speargrass rhizomes and their effects on postharvest rots in Ghana. Eighty farmer fields from Mem, Watro, Asanteboa and Abour in the Atebubu-Amantin Municipal in the Bono East Region of Ghana were screened for speargrass incidence and injury on harvested tubers, for laboratory analysis of pathogens in 2016 and 2017. The tubers were sorted into four categories of seed yam based on weight. Thirty seed yams each of two selected white yam cultivars (Dente and Kpamyo) with visible speargrass rhizome-pierced-tubers (VSRPT) and non-speargrass rhizome pierced healthy tubers (NSRPHT) were randomly selected and stored in a ban for weekly assessment of rot. The rotten tissues from the localised area of VPSRT were subjected to pathological investigations in the laboratory. The incidence of injury seemingly increased with increasing tuber weight. It was 0% for < 100 g samples and averagely 14% for > 1 kg samples, irrespective of cultivars and locations. Incidence of rot from NSRPHT sample was observed 5 weeks after storage (WAS) for both cultivars; and 2 WAS from the VSRPT sample and 40% higher than NSRPHT at 8 WAS. Eight and six known rot pathogens were isolated from the rotten tissues of VSRPT of Dente and Kpamyo, respectively. Injury from the piercing of speargrass rhizome significantly contributed to hastening of tuber rots; while tuber injury increased with increasing speargrass density. Appropriate management of speargrass is essential for commercial seed yam growers to reduce tuber damage which affects yam quality, storage and marketing.

Key words: Dioscorea, postharvest, rot pathogen, speargrass rhizome


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2072-6589
print ISSN: 1021-9730